Ring, the Amazon-owned purveyors of smart home surveillance systems, has taken a step to let customers make sure their videos are bit more secure. Earlier today, the home security purveyor continued its campaign to gain and satisfy consumers by announcing a new update affecting most of its product line.
As of this morning, an end-to-end (E2E) data encryption option is available for Ring’s flagship, battery-powered cameras such as the Ring 4 and Ring Video doorbells. Although Ring already encrypts user recordings when they upload to cloud servers, E2E provides a much more targeted security option, since only the device’s owner will be able to access footage on a single device using a password phrase.
“We believe we should offer a full range of privacy options to as many customers as possible. And we know that different devices make sense for different living situations,” Ring officials wrote in a blog post published today. Although Ring first announced E2E encryption previews in January 2021, it only then applied to its pricier hardwired and plug-in options like Ring Pro 2 and Ring Elite. Now, the update extends to every Ring device except for its cheapest model, the Ring Video Doorbell Wired.
This is potentially a big deal for those who about privacy rights and tech companies’ data sharing policies. Ring has garnered criticism in recent years for policies like supplying customers’ video and audio to law enforcement officials without their consent. E2E hypothetically prevents these same authorities from legally forcing either Ring or Amazon to fork over your data, providing a new option for homeowners who are potentially interested in smart security, but still cautious of who is able to access some of their most personal information.
Turning on E2E for your Ring devices comes with a few caveats, however. Doing so blocks a number of system features, including Event Timeline and device notification video previews, video sharing with other users, and integration with third-party apps. None of these are critical to Ring products’ efficacy, and could be pretty fair trades for the supposed ability to keep your home’s data restricted to just… you know, your home.