Security

Ring Releases Privacy Settings Dashboard Amidst Criticism and Legal Trouble

By Bill Toulas / January 7, 2020

Amazon’s Ring has announced that they are releasing a new “Control Center” feature for the Ring companion app, enabling the users to manage the privacy and security settings of their devices. According to Ring, the new feature will bring all of the relevant settings on a single easy-to-use dashboard. All of the devices will appear there as individual entries, and the configuration of their settings will be offered in a granular manner. Thus, users will finally be able to opt-out of receiving video requests from the police’s “Neighbors” program, oversee what data is shared with what platforms, and define what should be kept completely private.

This move came after Ring found itself in a deluge of castigation following numerous incidents of camera hacks, to which the maker responded somewhat erratically. Ring said that there was nothing wrong with the security of their products, and that those who have fallen victims of hackers must have used weak passwords, previously compromised credentials, or generally followed wrongful practices. However, many people insist that they have followed all of the proper security measures, and yet they were still hacked.

As a result, a class lawsuit accusing Ring of selling fatally flawed products was submitted to the U.S. District Court of California, asking for a damage compensation of $5 million. As the company was getting pressure from all sides, they had to do something other than indulging in ostracization. Thus, the “Control Center” arrives, but not many are convinced about the new settings dashboard and how it can help Ring users keep their privacy protected from hackers. Some accuse Ring of throwing the ball onto the users’ court, as the latter will have to carry the burden of setting their devices properly.

Amazon should do everything possible to set strict privacy protection settings on their devices by default, as expecting people do to this on their own is simply unrealistic. The 'Fight for the Future' digital-rights protection advocacy group calls the new dashboard “a total joke”, and downgrades it to “a cosmetic redesign”. Truth be told, the dashboard will be pretty weak initially, as all of the privacy and security settings will be gradually added along the way, or at least this is what Amazon promises right now. Initially, there will be too little options that users will be offered to fiddle with, so the negative response from the public is understandable and justified.

Do you use any of Ring’s products and are you worried about the protection of your privacy? Let us know in the comments below, or on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.



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