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Ring reportedly sharing private user data with Facebook, Google

A new report sheds light on a selection of analytical tools receiving user data from the Amazon-owned video doorbell app

A report published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has revealed that Amazon’s Ring doorbells are sharing personal information with a number of companies including Facebook and Google.

The report highlights the ways in which the Ring app is sending things like names, IP addresses and mobile networks to marketing and analytics firms. The EFF found that at least three of the data trackers receiving the information had not been added to the Ring privacy notice – and that only one of them was listed in the document.

The document in question makes specific mention of Google Analytics, MixJar, HotPanel and Optimizely but fails to mention that user data is also sent to Facebook Graph, Branch, AppsFlyer and Crashalytics (owned by Google). The list was last updated on 22 May 2018.

According to the EFF, the Ring doorbell app shared both in-app data (full names, email addresses and device settings) and data seemingly unrelated to the Ring device (smartphone OS version and model plus accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer records) with the above organisations.

EFF senior staff technologist Bill Budington said in a statement that “Ring claims to prioritize the security and privacy of its customers, yet time and again we’ve seen these claims not only fall short, but harm the customers and community members who engage with Ring’s surveillance system.”

Since it was purchased by Amazon in 2018, video doorbell manufacturer Ring has received criticism for its continued cooperation with a vast number of law enforcement agencies, and has prompted more than one concerned digital rights group to call for its closure.

In response to the EFF report, the firm told Gizmodo: “Like many companies, Ring uses third-party service providers to evaluate the use of our mobile app, which helps us improve features, optimize the customer experience, and evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing.”

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