Thursday, June 1, 2023

Unplug your Ring cameras

And maybe your Alexa as well:

America's Federal Trade Commission has made Amazon a case study for every cautionary tale about how sloppily designed internet-of-things devices and associated services represent a risk to privacy – and made the cost of those actions, as alleged, a mere $30.8 million.

The regulator on Wednesday charged, via the US Dept of Justice, two Amazon outfits with various privacy snafus.

The e-tail giant’s Ring home security cam subsidiary was accused of “compromising its customers’ privacy by allowing any employee or contractor to access consumers’ private videos and by failing to implement basic privacy and security protections, enabling hackers to take control of consumers’ accounts, cameras, and videos.”

This report is absolutely damning.  Ring employees accessed thousands of videos - the report goes into detail about one employee looking at "Master Bedroom" camera videos of dozens of "pretty girls".

If you have any hesitation at all about unplugging (especially) internal house cameras, read the whole link.  You'll want to take a shower afterwards.

And Ring cameras in your bedroom?

[blink] [blink] [blink]

The report discusses how Amazon employees listened in on customers' children and retained the recordings in violation of the law.  Good grief.

My recommendation is to ditch all this spyware ASAP.  Ugh.


Eric Wilner said...

I don't allow IOT stuff of uncertain provenance - as in, I haven't seen the source code - on the house network. Any 'net thing that's on the house network, communicates with some mystery server elsewhere, and gets its firmware from unknown suppliers, well, there's altogether too much mischief it could get up to, regardless of its nominal function.
And people put 'net-connected cameras in their bedrooms? Wha'...?

Aesop said...

This belongs in the Duh! File, under the topic of "Things Obvious To Stevie Wonder, From Space, Since Ever".

But the warning is addressed to people who tote a by-the-minute government tracking device with them every waking minute, listing second-by-second geolocation data, while snooping on every word within mic range, and handing it over to they-don't-know-whom.

So it's aimed at a pretty left-end segment of the IQ bell curve.

Which is the overwhelming majority of people.

You want to put in a closed-loop security camera system, where only you are the end user, go right on ahead.

Anything in the cloud should be labelled unrestricted use by "Peeping Toms and the NSA". Down to even home layout and square footage info collected by Joe Dumb@$$' Roomba vacuum droids, and beamed, yet again, to God Knows Who, 24/7/365/ever.


Eck! said...

And I just put in a ring doorbell...

My $0.02 s of they find looking at the front lawn and road they suffer from an epic level of boredom.

Then again I didn't sign up for the "service" as I'm cheap.
I just wanted to see what up front from out back. That and the mail used to sign up is through a one way reflector.
Call me wary as well.

For people that put them in bedrooms and other sensitive places I have a sign for them.


Fred_F said...

It is not news that these IoT devices are spying on you, and that the information is being accessed by everyone and his brother, all manner of government and cops included. Hell, cops have been big marketers of the Ring garbage! Like Aesop said, this info came out approximately one day after the Alexa / Ring products were first announced. There have been many of us screaming from the mountaintops just what garbage IoT is, not only from a PII / surveillance aspect, but also from a more nefarious botnet / other malware aspect. But who listens to tech geeks?

What *is* surprising is that the FTC is doing anything about it. What us *not* surprising is that the fine is but a tiny drop compared to the ocean of money Amazon has made selling that garbage.

ASM826 said...

And get a lead lined padded sleeve for the spy device you carry with you everywhere. It's tracking you, listening to you, knows your location at all times, and you're paying for that every month.

bj32097 said...

Doorbell camera pointing toward the outside hallway. Driveway camera pointing toward the driveway.

On computers with camera protective shutters, the shutters are closed unless the camera is in operation. Cameras on tablets are covered with scotch tape (completely blurs the image but allows automatic brightness to work) unless in use. My "smart" TVs don't have cameras on them. I don't have any Alexa devices.

Unfortunately, I can't just "go dark" or "off the grid". Family (some in the Philippines) still insists on using some of these network communication tools to keep in touch.

Doing the best I can, considering my "restrictions"...

Old NFO said...

Agree with Aesop and Fred.

Rick T said...

Security ALWAYS seems to come in last place when Convenience is a factor. Add in Vanity for the bedroom camera crowd and securing these devices isn't even in the same county.

Best Buy clerks not withstanding, it is pretty easy to set up a 2nd wireless router for your private stuff and put the IOT devices on a completely different wireless network. That doesn't help with botnet games but at least makes your PCs a bit more protected.