While Ring’s privacy policies apply to those who purchase its devices, people who are captured in footage or audio don’t have a chance to agree to them. “Privacy, security, and customer control are foundational to Ring, and we take the protection of our customers’ personal and account information seriously,” Rall says.
Ultimately, you agree to give Ring permission to control the “content” you share—including audio and video—while you own the intellectual property to it. The company’s terms of service say you give it an “unlimited, irrevocable, fee free and royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide right” to store, use, copy, or modify content you share through Neighbors or elsewhere online. (Audio recording can be turned off
“When I went out to buy a security camera last year, I looked for ones only that did local storage,” says Jen Caltrider, the lead researcher on Mozilla’s Privacy Not Included, which evaluates the privacy and security of products. Caltrider says people should try to keep as much control of their data as possible and not store files in the cloud unless they need to. “I don’t want any company having this data that I can’t control. I want to be able to control it.”
How Ring Works With Police
Ring’s deals with police forces—both in the US and the UK—have proved controversial. For years, the company has partnered with law enforcement agencies, providing them with cameras and doorbells that can be given to residents
Rings’ terms of service say that the company may “access, use, preserve and/or disclose” videos and audio to “law enforcement authorities, government officials, and/or third parties” if it is legally required to do so or needs to in order to enforce its terms of service or address security issues. Government officials could include any “regulatory agency or legislative committee that issues a legally binding request for information,” Rall says. For the six months between January and June 2022, Ring says it had more than 3,500 law enforcement requests in the US.