By John Shumway


Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They’re hands down one of the hottest gifts of Christmas. They stand out next to our front doors.

When we pushed the button on Sondeep Tangirala’s Ring doorbell in Cranberry, he quickly explained why he likes the video sentinel.

“Exactly what’s happening right now. I don’t need to be home or open the door to see who’s outside my door,” he said. “Generally people who have bad intentions will think twice before coming to a household that has a camera.”

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

But a report in “The Intercept” suggests you may not be the only one seeing what is coming through the eye of your camera. The videos from your camera go to Ring and the report suggests the company has had dismal privacy practices and others may be seeing your videos.

That doesn’t surprise Tangirala.

“If it is stored somewhere, someone has access to it,” he said.

In a statement, Ring responded to “The Ambient” about the report in “The Intercept” this way:

“We take the privacy and security of our customers’ personal information extremely seriously. In order to improve our service, we view and annotate certain Ring video recordings. These recordings are sourced exclusively from publicly shared Ring videos from the Neighbors app (in accordance with our terms of service), and from a small fraction of Ring users who have provided their explicit written consent to allow us to access and utilize their videos for such purposes. Ring employees do not have access to livestreams from Ring products.”

“It’s what’s at your front door and that’s publicly available,” said cyber security expert Albert Whale of IT Security.

He says it’s highly likely you may have given Ring permission when you downloaded the app and hit accept.

“They don’t read the 18 pages of legalese that allows the company to distribute your information across the globe and sell it to three other research companies,” Whale said. “Nobody reads that stuff.”

When David Watters in Ross answered his electronic doorbell, he was at work and not impressed by the issue.

“It’s not really sensitive material that it’s recording. If anybody out there would like to watch my packages being delivered, they’re more than happy to do it,” he said.

Tangirala agrees.

“It doesn’t matter to me. My outside view of the home is available on Google Maps today,” he said.

He says it would be a different story if he had inside cameras, which is exactly why he doesn’t.

Whale’s biggest concern is that a wireless door camera could be hacked, making a home’s cyber network vulnerable.

So while there may be some risk, the users say the bottom line is whatever risks there are, they are outweighed by the sense of security that they give.