A year after the Electronic Frontier Foundation called on Amazon to enable end-to-end encryption on Ring video doorbells, Amazon has begun rolling out the feature. End-to-end encryption ensures that Amazon employees cannot see what’s been recorded from your doorbell, and more importantly, should guarantee that Amazon cannot hand over that footage to law enforcement without you being served with a warrant. However, to take advantage of end-to-end encryption, you must enable it manually.
Ring has been the center of multiple privacy controversies, such as failing to encrypt Wi-Fi passwords (see “Amazon’s Ring Doorbells Sent Wi-Fi Passwords in the Clear,” 21 November 2019) and recruiting police departments to do marketing (“Amazon Using Police Departments to Sell Ring Cameras,” 29 July 2019). We’d like to see Ring make end-to-end encryption the default to prove that it’s not just tossing a bone to privacy advocates while still profiting from those who are unaware of the implications or are intimidated by the setup steps. (For more on encryption of personal video, see “Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video Leverages iCloud Storage and Preserves Privacy,” 30 October 2020).