Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

1957, 18 May 21

“Ring is effectively building the largest corporate-owned, civilian-installed surveillance network that the US has ever seen”


Ring video doorbells, Amazon’s signature home security product, pose a serious threat to a free and democratic society. Not only is Ring’s surveillance network spreading rapidly, it is extending the reach of law enforcement into private property and expanding the surveillance of everyday life. What’s more, once Ring users agree to release video content to law enforcement, there is no way to revoke access and few limitations on how that content can be used, stored, and with whom it can be shared.


Ring is effectively building the largest corporate-owned, civilian-installed surveillance network that the US has ever seen. An estimated 400,000 Ring devices were sold in December 2019 alone, and that was before the across-the-board boom in online retail sales during the pandemic. Amazon is cagey about how many Ring cameras are active at any one point in time, but estimates drawn from Amazon’s sales data place yearly sales in the hundreds of millions. The always-on video surveillance network extends even further when you consider the millions of users on Ring’s affiliated crime reporting app, Neighbors, which allows people to upload content from Ring and non-Ring devices.


Then there’s this: since Amazon bought Ring in 2018, it has brokered more than 1,800 partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, who can request recorded video content from Ring users without a warrant. That is, in as little as three years, Ring connected around one in 10 police departments across the US with the ability to access recorded content from millions of privately owned home security cameras. These partnerships are growing at an alarming rate.


1957, 18 May 2021


  1. Jason

    That’s why my home automation and my security cams are gapped from any incoming or outgoing network traffic. If it’s a cheap electronic device that asks for an IP address on my network, it’s not trusted unless I made it, or I can access and review the code.

    Between foreign entities supporting local manufacturers installing back doors (China, Russia, etc) and US companies coding in their own work-arounds and back doors, I trust very little. I run my own DNS server with Unbound that calls the Authoritative DNS Servers rather than any third party. And I block any device from calling out on port 53. I’m also blocking DoT and DoH (DNS over TLS and DNS over HTTPS). Both are far beyond what the average person does, and it’s unfortunate that I have to do this. But this keeps devices like Amazon Echo / FIre or Google Home / Chromecast or Nest / Ring / Blink, etc.

  2. Merlin

    Theoretically, law enforcement still needs to obtain a warrant to access recorded content without your consent. The exception is when you’ve voluntarily shared your content to a public forum (like Ring’s Neighbors app). Of course this only applies to law enforcement entities still complying with their constitutional responsibilities, which seems to be limited to the state and locals these days. Feds do whatever the hell they want.

    I have three exterior Ring flood light cameras that capture nothing more than nature 99% of the time. The other 1% are letter carriers, and Fedex and UPS delivery guys. It’s comical how amazingly gentle they are with the merchandise once they notice those Rings. I’m pretty much a law abiding citizen, so I’m not bothered in the least if anyone wants to run illegal surveillance on the rabbits and raccoons transiting my property. Have at it.

    Where I draw the line is cloud-based video recording from inside the house. I guess I’m just not that progressive. I know folks who have their home’s interior monitored 24/7, supposedly to track children and pets. One keeps an eye on a still independently living great grandmother this way… sold her on it as part of a “home security” system.

Pin It on Pinterest