- A study has found that Amazon-owned home security company Ring provides user data to firms including Facebook and Google.
- The study, by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, found the Android version of the Ring app to be “packed” with third-party trackers.
- The app gives data such as names, IP addresses, and mobile networks to five firms, the EFF said.
- Ring said trackers “help us improve features, optimise the customer experience and evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing.”
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Amazon-owned home security firm Ring hands personal information about its users to companies like Facebook and Google, a study has found.
The study, by digital rights nonprofit the Electronic Frontier Foundation, found the Android version of the Ring app to be “packed” with third-party trackers that gather users’ personally identifiable information.
Ring is best-known for its range of smart doorbells, which contain a high-definition camera, a motion sensor, a microphone and a speaker. These are controlled by the Ring app, and it’s this which is leaking data, according to the EFF.
In total, the study found information including names, IP addresses, and mobile networks was leaking to five tracking services.
It isn’t unusual for mobile apps to contain third-party trackers, although many users are unaware of the extent to which they are tracked. App developers allow these trackers for various reasons – to monetise their app or to keep track of how often the app crashes, for example.
But the EFF highlighted how Ring’s promise of security is undermined by its Android app handing out personally identifiable data to third parties. “This data is given to parties either only mentioned briefly, buried on an internal page users are unlikely to ever see, or not listed at all,” the EFF wrote.
Facebook, via its Graph API, was found to be receiving each Ring app user’s time zone, device model and screen resolution, and a unique identifier. What’s more, the study found that the app gives data to Facebook whether or not its customers actually have Facebook accounts.
Meanwhile, Google-owned crash logging firm Crashlytics was also found to be receiving sent data from the app.
The EFF said “the extent of [the Ring app’s] data sharing with [Crashanalytics] is yet to be determined.”
The other three companies found to be receiving personally identifiable information were Branch, a mobile measurement and deep linking platform; AppsFlyer, a big data company; and MixPanel, a business analytics firm.
Ring has faced heavy criticism in recent months, much of it privacy-related. On Monday, an Amazon engineer called for it to be “shut down immediately and not brought back” over privacy concerns about its home security cameras.
The firm told Gizmodo that its third-party services providers “help us improve features, optimise the customer experience and evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing.”
Business Insider has approached Ring for comment.
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