In the last few months Ring has been facing criticism due to its privacy and civil liberties policies and practices. With the development of the new Privacy Dashboard, Ring hopes to counter these criticisms by offering users a practical and easy to use solution to protect their privacy.
What Concerns will Ring’s Privacy Dashboard Address?
To address the grave privacy concerns faced by the company of late, as reported in a previous article, Ring has developed the new Privacy Dashboard. It will be added to both iOS and Android versions of its mobile apps and rolled out later this month.
The Privacy Dashboard will let Ring owners manage their connected devices and third-party services from a single location. It will also address a couple of the main concerns expressed so far.
Hijacking of ring devices
Due to consumers reusing passwords and not activating 2-factor authentication, there have been several reports of people having their Ring devices hijacked. For instance, Ring cameras have been hijacked leading to unknown voices in people’s homes and even blackmail attempts.
Consequently, Ring is making 2-factor authentication in the Privacy Dashboard the default setting for new users. This means that new Ring users will need to “opt-out” instead of “opt-in” to 2-factor authentication, as it is now. Users will be able to choose to turn it off instead of turning it on.
This change does not affect existing Ring customers. Rolling this change out to existing customers would require logging all such users out of their accounts and forcing them to log in again. Instead, Ring has opted to just reinforce to these customers the importance of 2-factor authentication. The company hopes this will lead people to choose to turn it on.
Relationship with law enforcement agencies
A major point of concern has been Ring’s policy of sharing with law enforcement agencies video data held on their servers. This data comes from customers video cameras. To address this concern, the new Privacy Dashboard will tell Ring owners if the company has a partnership with their local law enforcement agency. Owners will also be informed if local police can make requests to access video from their Ring cameras.
If a relationship exists, owners of Ring cameras can decide whether their video can be provided to the police. They could also choose not to use the cameras’ surveillance functionality so that video is not saved on Ring servers. If this choice is made, there would be no video for Ring to share with the police.
Privacy Dashboard’s New Features
The Ring Privacy Dashboard will have a new feature that will allow owners to see who is logged into their account. If the owner wants, they can then log other users out of their account right from their app.
Furthermore, Ring says they intend to add further privacy and security settings to the dashboard in later releases.