Ring Launches Standalone 'Neighbors' iOS App for Crowdsourcing and Preventing Criminal Activity

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Ring today launched a standalone "Neighbors" app on iOS [Direct Link] and Android devices, pulling out the local security and crime-prevention feature from the main Ring app into a standalone experience.

With Neighbors, Ring connects users in a nearby area who own any model of the Ring doorbell, and allows them to upload footage of criminal activity to make it easier to prevent and catch package thieves, burglars, and more. Users can scroll through their Neighborhood's recent feeds to check out potential crimes and other safety posts shared by nearby Ring owners and the Ring team. Feed posts include text, photo, or video alerts captured via Ring doorbells.


The app can warn users about topics like Crime, Suspicious activity, Safety warnings, and Strangers wandering around.
Jamie Siminoff, Chief Inventor and Founder of Ring, said: "At Ring, we come to work every day with the mission of reducing crime in neighborhoods. Over the past few years we have learned that, when neighbors, the Ring team and law enforcement all work together, we can create safer communities.

Neighbors is meant to facilitate real-time communication between these groups, while maintaining neighbor privacy first and foremost. By bringing security to every neighbor with the free Neighbors app, communities can stay on top of crime and safety alerts as they happen."
Additionally, police and sheriff's departments throughout the United States are now joining Neighbors in an expansion of the crime-stopping program. Local law enforcement will be able to share real-time crime and safety alerts with their communities, and users will see the updates in their Neighbors feeds, which also includes an interactive map.

The debut of a standalone Neighbors app follows Amazon's acquisition of Ring in February, and a price drop to $99 for the Ring Video Doorbell in April. In the wake of the acquisition, Ring promised customers that HomeKit support is still coming, stating that the Ring Pro and Floodlight Cam are currently being tested for HomeKit, "and as soon as testing is completed" the company will "update everyone with a release date."

Neighbors by Ring is available to download for free on the iOS App Store [Direct Link].

Article Link: Ring Launches Standalone 'Neighbors' iOS App for Crowdsourcing and Preventing Criminal Activity
 

EatinPonies

macrumors member
Feb 15, 2016
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So big brother can watch you making out in your front porch(just an example)...not sure how privacy laws come into play on this slippery slope.
lol I'm not sure that you understand what this app does...

People with Ring devices can manually share a video clip of suspicious activity to their nearby "neighborhood." Then, anybody that has this app and is associated with the same "neighborhood" can be alerted that there is suspicious activity nearby. That's it.

If you're concerned that people in your "neighborhood" could view your device at any time, that's not how this works. In order for others to see your camera(s) feed(s), you need to explicitly grant them access through the app.
 

UnusedLoginID

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2012
151
161
Bye-bye privacy… is this like a Big Brother in your front yard? And law enforcement couldn’t care less about your packages being stolen from your porch anyway. As to communicating crime, they already do through opt-in into their warning system.
[doublepost=1525794255][/doublepost]
lol I'm not sure that you understand what this app does...

People with Ring devices can manually share a video clip of suspicious activity to their nearby "neighborhood." Then, anybody that has this app and is associated with the same "neighborhood" can be alerted that there is suspicious activity nearby. That's it.

If you're concerned that people in your "neighborhood" could view your device at any time, that's not how this works. In order for others to see your camera(s) feed(s), you need to explicitly grant them access through the app.
I can imagine these people alerting neighbors that there’s a black guy or a Hispanic family walking around the neighborhood just going about their business. Do you know all your neighbors on your street? No, so why would you assume they’re not your neighbors !! This thing is so wrong on multiple levels… typical of the “guilty until proven innocent “ mentality this country fell into.
 

vipergts2207

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Apr 7, 2009
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So big brother can watch you making out in your front porch(just an example)...not sure how privacy laws come into play on this slippery slope.
Besides not understanding how this works, why are you on your front porch making out where any random Joe strolling along could see you? If you’re that concerned about it, perhaps you should take it to the backyard or inside. Trust me, no one wants to see that anyway.
 

miniyou64

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Jul 8, 2008
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Just because a UI shows its doing one thing doesn’t mean it can’t do something else silently in the background.

lol I'm not sure that you understand what this app does...

People with Ring devices can manually share a video clip of suspicious activity to their nearby "neighborhood." Then, anybody that has this app and is associated with the same "neighborhood" can be alerted that there is suspicious activity nearby. That's it.

If you're concerned that people in your "neighborhood" could view your device at any time, that's not how this works. In order for others to see your camera(s) feed(s), you need to explicitly grant them access through the app.
 
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B4U

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Guys, that is just one example I gave.
If I don’t explicitly give my neighbors permission to record whatever I do at my own house’s porch, it is not okay for them to record or replay from their door where they can see my house.
“Making out at the front porch” was just an extreme example that I used so that people understand how bad is this issue.
Another example is showing others (that are not within your neighborhood) whatever your own kid is doing in the front of your house, I don’t need anyone to see that or record that without MY permission.
 
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xero9

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Nov 7, 2006
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Guys, that is just one example I gave.
If I don’t explicitly give my neighbors permission to record whatever I do at my own house’s porch, it is not okay for them to record or replay from their door where they can see my house.
If you're outside (on your property or not), you should have no expectation of privacy.
 

ignatius345

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Aug 20, 2015
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People with Ring devices can manually share a video clip of suspicious activity to their nearby "neighborhood." Then, anybody that has this app and is associated with the same "neighborhood" can be alerted that there is suspicious activity nearby. That's it.
Cool. Now nosy, busybody neighbors everywhere can be even more empowered to spot "suspicious behavior".

[doublepost=1525798601][/doublepost]
If you're outside (on your property or not), you should have no expectation of privacy.
Besides not understanding how this works, why are you on your front porch making out where any random Joe strolling along could see you?
Two scenarios for you:

1) You or your wife or your kid are on your porch hanging with a friend or maybe just reading on your chair having an iced tea. Your neighbor opens their curtain and sees you, or someone driving or walking past sees you.

2) Your neighbor's camera is pointed at you and is recording you the entire time, and sharing that footage with your other neighbors.

Does that feel like the same thing to you? Seriously, does it?

"But the principle is the same!"

Who gives a crap? We can all see that the second example is far more invasive and disturbing.

"But if you're not doing anything wrong, why do you care?"

It's creepy to be recorded without your consent, period.
 
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Bob Zimmerman

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Aug 31, 2015
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Guys, that is just one example I gave.
If I don’t explicitly give my neighbors permission to record whatever I do at my own house’s porch, it is not okay for them to record or replay from their door where they can see my house.
“Making out at the front porch” was just an extreme example that I used so that people understand how bad is this issue.
Another example is showing others (that are not within your neighborhood) whatever your own kid is doing in the front of your house, I don’t need anyone to see that or record that without MY permission.
Legally speaking, they don't need your permission to record anything involving your property which they can perceive unaided. For example, video recording of your front porch is absolutely allowed, but thermographic recording or millimeter-wave radar which can see through walls is not. If you have open curtains, they are free to record what they could see through them from an ordinary vantage point outside. This is part of why celebrities like properties with lots of space between the public areas (roads, and sidewalks) and the house itself. Limits the ordinary vantage points to areas on private property, so when paparazzi intrude, they can be charged with trespass.

This gets a lot more interesting when it comes to radio transmissions, but that's a whole other topic.
 

chromite

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Jul 6, 2013
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Bye-bye privacy… is this like a Big Brother in your front yard? And law enforcement couldn’t care less about your packages being stolen from your porch anyway. As to communicating crime, they already do through opt-in into their warning system.
[doublepost=1525794255][/doublepost]

I can imagine these people alerting neighbors that there’s a black guy or a Hispanic family walking around the neighborhood just going about their business. Do you know all your neighbors on your street? No, so why would you assume they’re not your neighbors !! This thing is so wrong on multiple levels… typical of the “guilty until proven innocent “ mentality this country fell into.
I have a rule about not answering my door unless it’s someone I know or I’m expecting something because I believe that people in general can’t (and shouldn’t) be trusted. I broke that rule a few weeks ago and this is what happened:


I’m white and this other white guy knocks on my door asking to use my phone because he’s locked out of his house. My neighbor is having a big party next door with lots of people milling around who have phones that he could’ve asked (red flag #1). He said he knew me when I was younger and lived next door but guessed my name wrong and deflected when I asked him his name (red flags #2 and 3). Someone had gotten robbed a few streets away from me so at this point I’m worried I’m being cased. I said nah I’m not helping you and shut my door. He looked at me appalled like I was being rude.


Turns out he was legitimately my other neighbors brother or something who lived there years ago who actually did know me but forgot my name.


The whole situation was sketchy to the max and it could’ve easily been a burglar with bad intentions. I’m not gonna shame people for protecting their house and belongings by not answering their door. Privacy is a right and cameras on doorbells should be standard. Don’t come on someone else’s property if you don’t want to be recorded, it’s as easy as that.

TL;DR not everyone has the privilege to be blindly trusting of other people
 
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fairuz

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Good idea in some ways, but idk. I've got security cameras and have shared clips with neighbors following incidents. But they are making it easier than it needs to be for something that's only necessary in rare cases.

The bigger problem that needs to be tackled is the difficulty of setting up security cameras that you know aren't sending your videos to untrusted remote entities. I'm not normally an open source freak, but home surveillance really should be open source.
 

SounderTID

macrumors newbie
May 8, 2018
2
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Another way for neighbors to share videos of “suspicious” people and complain about police “not doing anything” like on Nextdoor.com.

And no, our stolen packages probably aren’t worth the expense of assigning a detective for a criminal investigation.
 
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Lefty21

macrumors regular
Aug 6, 2012
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Disregarding the concerns of the tin-foil hat wearers, I downloaded and logged in and there are only a few posts over the past several months in my area. Seems like an even-less-interesting NextDoor.
 

vipergts2207

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Apr 7, 2009
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Columbus, OH
Cool. Now nosy, busybody neighbors everywhere can be even more empowered to spot "suspicious behavior".

[doublepost=1525798601][/doublepost]


Two scenarios for you:

1) You or your wife or your kid are on your porch hanging with a friend or maybe just reading on your chair having an iced tea. Your neighbor opens their curtain and sees you, or someone driving or walking past sees you.

2) Your neighbor's camera is pointed at you and is recording you the entire time, and sharing that footage with your other neighbors.

Does that feel like the same thing to you? Seriously, does it?

"But the principle is the same!"

Who gives a crap? We can all see that the second example is far more invasive and disturbing.

"But if you're not doing anything wrong, why do you care?"

It's creepy to be recorded without your consent, period.
Do you not realize that if you're outside, you could be recorded by someone at anytime, without your knowledge or consent? The fact that it's a Ring doorbell doing the recording doesn't matter. I could setup an old-fashioned camcorder pointing out my window and record whatever I want and do whatever I want with the video. Similarly, I can record whatever I want on my iPhone in a public space and can do whatever I want with the video. I'll quote what xero9 said, because he hit the nail on the head.

If you're outside (on your property or not), you should have no expectation of privacy.
You should probably get used to being recorded outside of your home, because it's only going to become more common, not less.
 

apple_iBoy

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2003
677
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Philadelphia, PA
I recently discovered that my ring device probably is afoul with Pennsylvania wiretapping law, since it records audio with no means of turning that feature off. I’ve decided to not participate in the sharing system that my local police department has for that reason.
 

vipergts2207

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2009
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I recently discovered that my ring device probably is afoul with Pennsylvania wiretapping law, since it records audio with no means of turning that feature off. I’ve decided to not participate in the sharing system that my local police department has for that reason.
“The law does not cover oral communications when the speakers do not have an "expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation." See 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5702 (link is to the entire code, choose Title 18, Part II, Article F, Chapter 57, Subchapter A, and then the specific provision). Therefore, you may be able to record in-person conversations occurring in a public place without consent.”

https://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/78qm3x/pa_video_doorbells_legal_under_wiretapping_laws/

As long as the people being recorded have no expectation of privacy, and someone hanging out in front of someone’s house certainly should not, your doorbell is fine.
 
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B4U

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Um, if you're already making out on your front porch, couldn't your whole street already see you out there?
um, I am not sure if human beings have night vision that is comparable to some of these modern cameras.
[doublepost=1525819974][/doublepost]
Cool. Now nosy, busybody neighbors everywhere can be even more empowered to spot "suspicious behavior".

[doublepost=1525798601][/doublepost]


Two scenarios for you:

1) You or your wife or your kid are on your porch hanging with a friend or maybe just reading on your chair having an iced tea. Your neighbor opens their curtain and sees you, or someone driving or walking past sees you.

2) Your neighbor's camera is pointed at you and is recording you the entire time, and sharing that footage with your other neighbors.

Does that feel like the same thing to you? Seriously, does it?

"But the principle is the same!"

Who gives a crap? We can all see that the second example is far more invasive and disturbing.

"But if you're not doing anything wrong, why do you care?"

It's creepy to be recorded without your consent, period.
Glad I am not alone feeling freaked out about this.
[doublepost=1525820165][/doublepost]
Do you not realize that if you're outside, you could be recorded by someone at anytime, without your knowledge or consent? The fact that it's a Ring doorbell doing the recording doesn't matter. I could setup an old-fashioned camcorder pointing out my window and record whatever I want and do whatever I want with the video. Similarly, I can record whatever I want on my iPhone in a public space and can do whatever I want with the video. I'll quote what xero9 said, because he hit the nail on the head.



You should probably get used to being recorded outside of your home, because it's only going to become more common, not less.
If the camera is powerful enough to see the INSIDE of someone else's house, you are simply breaking the law.
There was a case similar to that when a guy walks around naked inside his house and his neighbor called the police for indecent exposure. Guess who won the lawsuit?
[doublepost=1525820417][/doublepost]
Bye-bye privacy… is this like a Big Brother in your front yard? And law enforcement couldn’t care less about your packages being stolen from your porch anyway. As to communicating crime, they already do through opt-in into their warning system.
[doublepost=1525794255][/doublepost]

I can imagine these people alerting neighbors that there’s a black guy or a Hispanic family walking around the neighborhood just going about their business. Do you know all your neighbors on your street? No, so why would you assume they’re not your neighbors !! This thing is so wrong on multiple levels… typical of the “guilty until proven innocent “ mentality this country fell into.
Being the only minority in the neighborhood, I can totally relate to this.
Even though I know most of them by now, it does not change the fact that they could have called the cops and record everything I did when I first moved in.
[doublepost=1525820573][/doublepost]
“The law does not cover oral communications when the speakers do not have an "expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation." See 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5702 (link is to the entire code, choose Title 18, Part II, Article F, Chapter 57, Subchapter A, and then the specific provision). Therefore, you may be able to record in-person conversations occurring in a public place without consent.”

https://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/78qm3x/pa_video_doorbells_legal_under_wiretapping_laws/

As long as the people being recorded have no expectation of privacy, and someone hanging out in front of someone’s house certainly should not, your doorbell is fine.
Being seen and being recorded are 2 different things.
I expected to be seen and talk to the cops when I see them down walking down the street, but I do not expect them to take down everything I say and use as evidence in the court of law UNTIL I have been expressively informed.
 
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vipergts2207

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Apr 7, 2009
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If the camera is powerful enough to see the INSIDE of someone else's house, you are simply breaking the law.
There was a case similar to that when a guy walks around naked inside his house and his neighbor called the police for indecent exposure. Guess who won the lawsuit?
Well considering that the inside of someone’s home isn’t a public space, that would be quite true. However, intent would also come into account.

“However, if a camera points somewhere private (e.g., into someone's bedroom window) then there may be a privacy concern. While the camera is situated outside, it cannot generally be oriented in a manner intended to invade an area where someone has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=35154

Obviously I can’t setup a camera that specifically and intentionally tries to record the inside of your home. However, if someone’s doorbell or floodlight camera happens to coincidentally have their across-the-street neighbor’s living room in part of the frame, which is practically a guarantee for a large number of such cameras, then that would seem to be perfectly fine.

I’d also like to see the details of the case you’re referencing, because at face value, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with the discussion here.
 

apple_iBoy

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2003
677
403
Philadelphia, PA
“The law does not cover oral communications when the speakers do not have an "expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation." See 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5702 (link is to the entire code, choose Title 18, Part II, Article F, Chapter 57, Subchapter A, and then the specific provision). Therefore, you may be able to record in-person conversations occurring in a public place without consent.”

https://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/78qm3x/pa_video_doorbells_legal_under_wiretapping_laws/

As long as the people being recorded have no expectation of privacy, and someone hanging out in front of someone’s house certainly should not, your doorbell is fine.
Thanks for this