Ring Doorbell App Shares User Data With Facebook And Google

Posted by at 7:18 am on January 28, 2020

Ring doorbells are providing customer data to companies such as Facebook and Google, an investigation suggests.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation found the Ring app was “packed” with third-party tracking, sending out customers’ personally identifiable information.

Five companies were receiving a range of information, including names, IP addresses and mobile networks, it said.

Ring said it limited the amount of data it shared.

The company told Gizmodo: “Like many companies, Ring uses third-party service providers to evaluate the use of our mobile app, which helps us improve features, optimise the customer experience and evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing.”

But the EFF said Ring was failing to protect users’ privacy, noting only one of the trackers it had found was mentioned in the company’s privacy policy.

“The danger in sending even small bits of information is that analytics and tracking companies are able to combine these bits together to form a unique picture of the user’s device,” the EFF said.

“This cohesive whole represents a fingerprint that follows the user as they interact with other apps and use their device, in essence providing trackers the ability to spy on what a users is doing in their digital lives and when they re doing it.”

The five companies identified as receiving information per the EFF were:

  • Facebook, via its Graph API – each user’s time zone, device model and screen resolution and a unique identifier
  • Branch, which describes itself as a deep-linking platform – a number of unique identifiers, as well as each user’s IP address, device model and screen resolution
  • AppsFlyer, a big data company – a range of information, including sensor data related to the magnetometer, gyroscope and accelerometer on users’ phones
  • MixPanel – the most information, including users’ full names, email addresses, device information and app settings
  • Google-owned Crashalytics – an amount of customer data “yet to be determined”

Out of these, only MixPanel is mentioned in Ring’s privacy notice, along with Google Analytics, HotJar and Optimizely.

The investigation by EFF tested Ring for Android, version 3.21.1.

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