Ring Doorbell App Packed with Third-Party Trackers

Do you have a Ring? Are you using the Ring phone app? You should know…

This is why I will never have smart home devices that call home, and especially anything from Google or Amazon.

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About 5 years ago I got sick of Windows machines and Android phones. So I went to the nearest Apple Store and asked to give me two of everything for my wife and I. Then I got the worst sticker shock in my life. I told them to hold that thought and made a bee line to Best Buy. In their Apple section I asked the young salesman to give me two of everything. This time the the bill was thousands cheaper and I got an in store credit for every one hundred dollars I had spent on Apple products. So I made out like a fat cat and never had a problem again. Never with third party apps and especially security. To this day I have not regretted my decision and the royalties from my Apple stock have paid me back for my investment.

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As a Ring/Alexa/Amazon user I appreciate the exposure to the information. I’m not going to quit using their products but information is always a good thing.

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You think you’re immune from third party data tracking because you use Apple? :rofl::rofl::rofl:

Lordy.

It doesn’t matter whether you use Apple or Android. You’re being tracked. Even if you take a factory phone and never install a single app, you’re tracked by the manufacturer and the service provider.

Check out the documentary Surveillance Capitalism. They tracked the data flow of one user’s data; after signing one EULA, their data could be shared with up to 1000 vendors/ data partners.

If you install an app, they track you. Ring takes your account info and shares it with data partners to determine your market segment and refine their models.

If you use Google anything, you’re tracked. If you have, or ever had, Facebook, you’re tracked.

If you don’t want to be tracked you have to go reset your advertising identifier regularly (like at least weekly). Marketers can (and do!) track your movements around town and send targeted ads based on what you’re close to. If they aren’t tracking you based on actual GPS location data, they’re tracking what wifi networks you join or are near to approximate it.

If you turn off all location based services, keep your phone in airplane mode other than when you’re actively using it, maybe you’ll be less tracked. But you’re still tracked.

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I have a friend who suddenly became paralyzed two months ago. On the first day in the hospital I suggest an Amazon Echo to him and I hadn’t even finished what I was saying before he forcefully told me he wouldn’t be getting one. I suspect he had the same concerns as Nordling House. He had previously had a Ring doorbell and removed it and gave it to me. Now Alexa is his lifeline to the world. He uses it to make calls, listen to news and music and it reads his Audible books to him. He now wishes he had video surveillance at his home and if he gets out of the nursing home and is able to resume living at his home he is going to be maxing it out with “smart home” features.

I’ve also upped the internet of things footprint in my home as I’ve now learned that if you wait until you need them it could be too late.

My friend probably came within a day of passing away at home due to his difficulty in making a phone call using his hands.

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I know someone who is very disabled and Alexa has given her a new lease of life, without a doubt.

I have to be honest, I’ve never understood all this business of being tracked and listened to and spied on and so on and so on. I use Alexa at home. I had one of the first iPhones ever, I’ve been using the internet for decades, I use apps on the phones (I have two) and the laptop. I use all sorts of third party apps on everything. GPS in the car and various social media.

So I’ve been tracked forever. When I lived in the UK, at the height of the IRA’s spree of killing people, everyone’s every move was logged on CCTV. Cameras have been everywhere for as long as I can remember.

I might be very very stupid but I really don’t see what evil things are going to happen to me because of this.

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I think it’s good to be aware. Knowledge of what can happen can help prevent it from happening. I think the potential for abuse is there but the good outweighs the bad for me.

In the medieval village, everyone was tracked everywhere and the slightest wrong move and the church or the state would kill you. In those days no one ever thought they had any control over their lives. Now we pretend we do.

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It seems funny to me that some hosts want all sorts of devices so that they can see what their guests are up to but object to any sort of surveillance of themselves. :rofl:

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It depends on what your definition of evil is.

When I started in market research 25 years ago, it was all about understanding consumer behavior so you could design better products. And so you could understand the emotional drivers behind purchase decisions, which you could use in your marketing message.

Now marketers aren’t asking you directly; they’re inferring things about your lifestyle and choices based on a wealth of data. You are profiled and put into a market segment, and they find interactive, engaging ways to interact with those segments. We’re now into shaping behavior, often times in the guise of entertainment. (like shop owners paying to get a pokemon dropped in their stores. A game creates a need (in you or your kids) which drives foot traffic in a way a coupon never would have)

It’s insidious because most of the research of the last 15 years says we’ve largely unconscious of the information and background processing that goes into the choices we make. When marketers can subtly repeat their message to you across the media you consume, especially when advertising is embedded in content or entertainment, you may not even be aware they’ve shaped your choices.

The industry made me feel increasingly uncomfortable, so I took a different course in my career. Still, I keep in touch with friends who do this work. 10 years ago RFID was going to be the big thing. WalMart wanted to tag everything as a logistics tool and other industries were considering how they could use them for everything from sorting laundry to knowing what food was in your fridge.
Marketers saw it as a way to “read” a guest as they walked into a store. If I walk in with RFID’s that say designer clothes, upscale cosmetics in my purse, etc., they’d send me different targeted offers than they would the woman who walked in before me with tags that say “Hanes sweats” and drugstore lipstick. They’re doing the same now, just using the collected data of what information you interact with, what apps you use, what locations you visit.

And not to take too much of a political turn here, but when you can segment people into very accurate demographic and ideologically similar groups, you can identify and exploit people who are open to suggestion. When you sell ideas, rather than products, things get scary. Facebook doesn’t care whether I want to sell widgets or fanaticism.

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Another fantastic post. Thanks for posting here.

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