Bill Budington is a long-time activist, cryptography enthusiast, and a senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. His research has been featured in the The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and has been cited by the U.S. Congress. He is the lead developer of Panopticlick, led HTTPS Everywhere from 2015 to 2018, and has contributed to projects like Let's Encrypt and SecureDrop. He loves hackerspaces and getting together with other techies to tinker, code, share, and build the technological commons.
Ring's Wrongs: Surveillance Capitalism, Law Enforcement Contracts, and User Tracking
Throughout the last few years, the Ring smart doorbell has been purchased by many residents with the idea that it will keep their homes safer. But Ring, the company owned by Amazon that produces the Ring doorbell, does a lot more than simply monitor your home for you. It has forged secretive partnerships with over 1300 law enforcement agencies across the country, providing them with unprecedented access to footage across American communities, and often even inside the home. At the same time, Ring has been lackluster in its approach to product security, leading to a number of high-profile breaches giving hackers access to video streams and allowing them to use the doorbell's speaker to harass an eight-year-old child inside her home. Finally, original research conducted by EFF has shown the Ring app to be packed with third-party tracking libraries, sending a huge amount of information on customers' devices and habits to tracking companies without disclosing to users that this was happening.
This talk is going to catalogue Ring's Wrongs and EFF's campaign against these practices - practices that not only facilitate the overreach of law enforcement and injure user privacy, but also provide the clearest example of surveillance capitalism, a new frontier of profiteering.