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Ring Gave Police Stats About Users Who Said No to Law Enforcement Requests (gizmodo.com)
368 points by eth0up 45 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 276 comments

> The request data acquired by Gizmodo, which covers a five-month period in 2018, showed that Ring customers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, had largely ignored police requests for footage. Between May and September of 2018, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department issued 22 requests via Ring’s law enforcement portal. Those requests resulted in 319 emails being sent to residents asking them to hand over footage, a statistic that the company now says it keeps confidential.

I wonder how much of this is just because who's going to believe some random email that "law enforcement" wants to see my security camera footage? We live in an age where the "IRS" calls every day to inform me that they're going to come arrest me, and I'm supposed to hand over surveillance footage to some random email?

About a year ago someone was murdered near my office. Our office is in a townhouse in a mostly residential neighborhood. Detectives came by in person to ask if we had any surveillance cameras that might have footage they can look at to see if it might have the killer on it. They didn't just send an email.

I want law enforcement requests to be difficult, and impossible to automate. Imposing barriers to retrieve footage is a factor which I think helps prevent overreach. Although it's probably too late..

I want both digital and meatspace.

The requests should be done in person in a way that naturally limits it to when it would be required rather than just curiosity or convenience.

But the requests themselves, the requesters, the durations, and the judges that signed off on them should be digitally available.

If the police want footage, then the police should go knocking on doors to ask for footage. And the police should expect to be told to come back with a warrant.

Why should those of us who want to efficiently investigate crime in our neighborhoods, and who want criminals caught and prosecuted quickly, restrain ourselves from cooperating with the police we pay to do just those things? It's not like they're asking us for footage of activity inside our homes.

> efficiently investigate

Efficiently investigating is pretty far down my list of priorities in this context. Accountably investigating, accurately investigating, and norm/right-respecting investigating are above above efficiency, though I'm glad if it can follow those.

Having to contact and converse with the owner who put up the doorbell cam contributes to this. Having oversight from a judge contributes more.

Because the police are allowed to lie to you.

Are they looking for a particular person, or when a blue sedan that may look like yours drove by? Who knows — you should always exercise discretion.

>Because the police are allowed to lie to you.

This IMO needs to change, if they can legally lie to you they can lie in court. They do both.

No, police are not allowed to lie in court... and there are limits to how far they can stretch the truth in interviews/investigations.

Legally they arent allowed to lie, but they do. Anyone who has been in court has seen it. You have to have proof they are lying to get them to stop.

That's true of any witness, though. Perjury is a crime, but you have to prove it.

In the trial context, good defense attorneys will be able to introduce contradictory evidence, or will challenge the credibility of a witness by finding facts that make them look bad -- even police officers. With police officers it's a bit harder, though, because the public largely believes (wrongly, I'm afraid) that police are more trustworthy than the general public.

Cops arent just any witness. If they are caught perjuring all the cases they testified against are eligible to be retried.

I have heard this discussed in court as a reason to not find the officer guilty. Records get sealed of course and you cant discuss it.


Lying in court is one thing, but it’s been accepted that the police can use deception to get information.

It makes sense. In many cases, subjects of investigations are unaware of them.

You may never have a situation where you wouldn’t want to share camera footage with authorities. But many people do, for a variety of reasons, and creating a norm where your home is a node of some surveillance network has obvious negative potentials.

The whole ecosystem of fear around home surveillance, Nextdoor, etc is awful and companies like Amazon are exploiting it without regard to the impact that it will have.

> You may never have a situation where you wouldn’t want to share camera footage with authorities. But many people do, for a variety of reasons

... For example?

> Creating a norm where your home is a node of some surveillance network has obvious negative potentials

Would you mind explaining what those are? They're not "obvious" to me.

I agree with you isofar as lying as a means of extracting a confession from a suspect is wrong. But I don't see any harm in providing footage of the outside of my home, and quite frankly, I can't think of a situation in which police would have to lie to me to get it.

I think the problem is that trust in American police is very low.

Given the training and conduct this cannot be surprising.

The number of stories where police act in bad faith is overwhelming.

So I get why people would be hesitant to collaborate -- your neighbor might get shot of you report a door left open.

We shouldn't restrain ourselves. (And we don't, at least I don't).

Let's cut the bullshit: if the cops are looking for someone matching your exact description or time+place with minimal doubt, you are probably not doing the "lord's work" as folks from the Southern US would say.


There needs to be high barriers to request this sort of data.

There should be low barriers to auditing the use/misuse of it.

I agree with that. If someone has a security cam pointed at their driveway, I don't really care as long as the owner has full and complete control over it.

Ring is building a global surveillance network and using dark patterns to get homeowners to pay for it.

Can't wait until they have facial recognition on these feeds at scale so you'll never be out of view of the Amazon surveillance panopticon. Best case scenario is they just use it to relentlessly market to you... worst case is.. worse.

Maybe we’ll all be wearing masks in public by then

Nice, scramble suits for everyone

The cameras I have around my house (outside of my Ring) are all Wyze cameras. They cost about $40 a pop and they are end-to-end encrypted if they're uploaded to the cloud. I can also just put a surveilance ready SD card in them to record from (indefinitely or specific events).

Real signatures, and lots of them.

That was my immediate reaction. And it's very common for organizations to assume that we see an email from them or get a phone call or find a website claiming to be them and trust it.

It's amazing how hard it is for people to grasp that I don't know who they are.

Also, to what extent can Ring verify that requests are from a real police officer who is currently employed? How rapidly can they invalidate portal credentials after an officer is fired? Do departments use shared credentials for these portals, and if so, how frequently are they rotated?

Would be great if there was a national database of law enforcement officers' name and badge numbers, that typing in both with a match would show any member of the public an official image of the officer's face. I'd love to be able to authenticate whether someone is a cop before letting them into my home: fake badges are cheap.

Similarly, would be cool to have a facial recognition database, so a citizen could take a picture of a cop's face to lookup name and badge number if they are a real cop, or report impersonation of an officer if they are not found.

Are there any repercussions if Ring discovers that a police department is using their network for unauthorized purposes? Like spying on women and people that have a personal beef with?

I suspect not.

I’m guessing not at all if they follow the same guidelines as Uber’s abuse department.

I was thinking that maybe users weren't seeing the emails.

Look at the stats provided to LE: there were a grand total of zero refused requests. Instead, all the requests were either approved (small minority), or ignored (all the rest). The requests were sent by email. Perhaps the users simply didn't see the emails. Most likely, they went into the Spam folder. Or the users are so inundated with other junk and other email (that makes it past the Spam filter) that they just didn't notice them. Maybe the users don't even look at their email very often.

Has Ring done any research to see if their emails are getting into their users' Spam folders?

Seriously, email these days isn't the greatest communication tool any more, thanks to the spammers. GMail does a pretty decent job of filtering, but not everyone uses it. Look how many clueless people still use their ISP's crappy email service!

As for the IRS, you're right about that: all the spam/robocall/scam calls have basically ruined voice calling on phones. I almost never answer my phone any more unless it's someone already in my contact list, because it's usually someone I don't want to talk to (and if it's from my own area code, it's almost always a scammer).

> Seriously, email these days isn't the greatest communication tool any more, thanks to the spammers.

Do you have any better alternatives?

> GMail does a pretty decent job of filtering, but not everyone uses it.

Yes, anyone not using Gmail is completely inundated with spam every second of every day, is a troglodyte, and how do they even survive? As the posted article shows, the best thing for everyone is to hand over all of our private information, communication, and GPS coordinates to the big tech oligopolies.

Your first paragraph may contain a small error in failing to consider that the perceived safest and easiest way to refuse might be to ignore. An LE request can be intimidating to some and it's not difficult to imagine some preferring to not get involved. Rather than officially decline, avoidance might actually be a common method in such situations. This is possible.

Edit: correct silly wording

I agree with everything you said except this:

> Has Ring done any research to see if their emails are getting into their users' Spam folders?

How would you do that without putting tracking pixels/images/scripts/anything inside of an email?

Do you think they wouldn't do that?

That's rather my point though.

We now live in an age where people pretend to have authority they do not really have as means to enable their crimes?


of course they did! Ring's PR strategy heavily involves law enforcement: they feed LE juicy surveillance in order to get softball quotes that play on people's insecurity about how infrequent crime actually is, thus increasing their incentive to buy Ring stuff, increasing Ring's market share, surveillance collection potential, and making law enforcement more and more supportive.

getting a permanently funded government agency as an advocate for your thing is a great startup play: you'll easily crush competitors and roll your way into an enshrined monopoly because "we cannot possibly lose this valuable tool against criminals everywhere"

Isn’t that the same scare tactics that gun manufacturers use? They act as if anyone is dumb if they don’t carry around an automatic weapon to protect themselves against the lawless hordes roaming the streets of suburban America.

A firearm, like a fire extinguisher, is one of those items which is completely pointless to have until it's the only thing in the world that matters.

In my experience it wasn't a horde - just one man - but I needed it all the same.

"Statistics don't matter when it happens to you."

The best way to increase your odds of getting shot is to own a gun. Owning guns is dangerous. Occasionally for some people it will turn out to be a positive, but in general, owning a gun is a negative.

Do you have data? This is an interesting case-study where political expediency may brush over confounding variables:

* Own a gun and kill oneself with it. The primary risk factor being depression, not the gun.

* Own a gun and be part of a criminal organization. The primary risk factor being rival criminal organizations, not the gun.

Depression is rarely the cause of suicide. Suicide is usually the result of one overwhelming moment + means. Having a gun in the household makes suicide significantly more likely. Without easy means, most people get through the tough time and go on with their lives.

But most suicides are not accidentally caused by the presence of a gun.

Replace "gun" in your sentence with say "power tool." Any powerful piece of technology in careless hands is dangerous. Goodness, even computers are dangerous in the hands of narcissistic hackers! That doesn't mean they are not perfectly safe useful tools in the responsible hands.

Sure but you actually need the power tool for something.

No, you don't. You can do anything that a power tool can with an unpowered tool.

Weld. Solder. Mill. Turn. Thickness plane. 90° Join. I can’t see even fairly impractical ways to do all those without power, let alone any practical way.

Need is a terrible basis to judge rights on. Nobody strictly needs free expression either.

It is widely agreed as a fundamental pillar of ethics and international law that everyone needs free expression.


Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4: No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

I could continue pasting the remainder of the document, but I would argue that the ability to defend oneself (from the State, or other individuals) is the fundamental human right. Without it, all other rights are null and void. Gun ownership is the final fallback for securing our human rights.

Free expression doesn't kill people.

Right, when have words ever been used for anything bad by anyone?


Please don't take HN threads further into flamewar. Especially not classic flamewar topics, as the site guidelines say.


I am trying to stick to guidelines here, understood.

The police have military weapons and the best equipment money can buy - especially SWAT. What good are “citizens” going to do against them?

That’s just like the militia running around in the woods training just in case they have to fight against the government. The same government that spends billions on weapons every year. If the government wants to impose martial law - like the nutcases including Chuck Norris thought they wanted to do a few years ago - the “militia” wasn’t going to be able to stop them.

Funny, it’s worked well in countries like Afghanistan. Don’t underestimate the power of a motivated and armed gorilla force that potentially exponentially outnumbers any “officially” sanctioned armed force.

> Funny, it’s worked well in countries like Afghanistan.

No, it didn't. The guerilla forces that were successful in Afghanistan has outside state sponsorship and supply and intervention by global or regional powers on their behalf (advisers, intelligence, special ops support, etc.) That's true of the Mujahideen fighting the USSR (backed by the USA, Pakistan, and others), and true of the Taliban/al-Qaeda associated groups which were fighting the internationally-recognized government (backed by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.)

You think a civil war in the US wouldnt have factions getting resources from every other country on the planet ?

> You think a civil war in the US wouldnt have factions getting resources from every other country on the planet

No, I think the pre-breakdown distribution of light civilian arms isn't how you win that fight.

That wont ever happen. I know for a fact many many people have stashes of weapons. Typically they report it as a boating accident.

Keep in mind the 25 million ex military in the US know how to run that gear. Any conflict in this country will be a mess.

This always comes up in the context of using guns to fight tyranny.

Your SWAT example is great: how many guys are on the SWAT team kicking the door to get one guy? 4? 6? 10?

What about an actual military operation going door to door? Squad size is 10? 20?

Government violence, when directed against you is nearly impossible to resist. But that's not the same as government violence directed against an armed populace.

History is flush with examples of failures of superior military power to subdue a population that actively resists.

Have you considered that the answer to systematic failures in the governance of the United States might be better fixed at a systematic level, rather than just arming everyone?

Until those hypothetical fixes are in place, what do you do? Disarm everybody?


Individual citizens trying to fight cops with firepower is never going to work. Cops have much better equipment than you're going to have, and have the backing of the entire government.

Unless you're literally planning on staging a coup, arming yourself to fight cops is not a viable strategy.

On the other hand, if we disarm everybody, then we don't need to have such over-militarized cops either, and maybe we can finally get to a place where cops no longer automatically reach for their gun (or even carry one) and therefore stop routinely murdering citizens.

This argument has worked for every democide in the 20th century

Govts should fear the citizens, not the other way around.

Tyranny is a thing you want to avoid

In general, owning and shooting guns is like any other hobby, and is something to talk about or take part in with friends. Most gun owners will never use a gun in self defense, and most people will never be hurt by a gun either. Of people who do end up drawing a gun in self defense, most of the time they don't even have to shoot anyone.

A great way to get a head or spine injury is to own a ladder.

A great way to maim yourself is to own a circular saw.

A lot of popular sports have a substantial risk of very predictable injuries, from CTE (caused by repeated head trauma) to joint damage.

People accept all sorts of risks from sports activities or (mis)use of all kinds of tools. When the subject turns to guns there's this uncontrollable fear reaction certain people have and want to get rid of the object. They don't want guns. They don't want their family to have guns. They don't want their friends to have guns. They don't want anyone to have guns. Guns are evil and must be eradicated. They cannot be tolerated and anyone who has one is suspicious if not a verified homicidal maniac.

There is no magical solution to the "gun problem", just like there's no magical solution that will keep everyone safe in sports or DIY home improvement. Every "solution" that would work involves some kind of extremely harsh and limiting regulation or outright ban that, if it could be enforced, would upset a lot of people.

How do you know every single one of your friendly, stable, normal, and non-violent friends doesn't own a gun? 30% of adults in the U.S. own one. 50% live in gun households. If you don't live with them, you simply don't know.[1]

[1] https://news.gallup.com/poll/264932/percentage-americans-own...

>The best way to increase your odds of getting shot is to own a gun

The three things you can do which will reduce your odds of being killed by a gun by about 95%:

1. Don't shoot yourself. That reduces your odds by nearly 70%

2. Be Asian or Native American. This reduces your odds by another 70%. If you're not able to do that, being white or Hispanic still improves your odds substantially.

3. Be a woman (reduces your odds of dying by another 80%)

If you are able to accomplish all 3, congratulations! You've reduced your odds being killed by a gun from .01% to around 0.0005%

If you're able to understand basic safety rules, owning a gun is not that dangerous. Accidental deaths are incredibly rare (literally less than a one in a million occurrence), and have been trending down since gun safety has become more popular (the modern conception of trigger discipline has only existed for like 40-50 years). I think you're conflating the inherent danger of firearms with some confounding variables that lead certain people to be more likely to possess them.

> 1. Don't shoot yourself. That reduces your odds by nearly 70%

You can't shoot yourself if you don't have a gun.

> Be Asian or Native American. This reduces your odds by another 70%. If you're not able to do that, being white or Hispanic still improves your odds substantially.

It doesn't matter what race you are, if you don't have a gun.

3. Be a woman (reduces your odds of dying by another 80%)

If doesn't matter what sex you are, if you don't have a gun.

> If you are able to accomplish all 3, congratulations! You've reduced your odds being killed by a gun from .01% to around 0.0005%

If you don't have a gun, congratulations! You've reduced your odds being killed by a gun from .01% to around 0.0005%. And you have to worry a whole lot less about dying from a gunshot depending on your mental state, accident, or whether you are "unlucky" enough to have been born male or African-American, or have occasional bouts of severe depression.

The best way to increase you odds of getting shot is to own a "power tool". Something is not adding up here.

The sentence was:

> The best way to increase your odds of getting shot is to own a gun. Owning guns is dangerous. Occasionally for some people it will turn out to be a positive, but in general, owning a gun is a negative.

The parent was just pointing out how silly the grandparent's sentence was by replacing the word "gun" with literally any other noun. The rest of the sentences didn't really matter, and were just as silly, not to mention just as inaccurate.


> Myself and others will step up and defend that right to any who attempt to take it.

I want to hone in on this particular statement you made for some clarification. Are you referring to violence here? If the state or law enforcement are involved, what's the response?

Just trying to get an idea of what "defend that right" is supposed to mean here, since I hear it an awful lot in regards to this specific topic.

> It's a civilian right in the US. No matter how you feel about that matter it does not change it.

Just because something is the law it doesn't mean it's a sensible law nor that law should never be changed to reflect modern cultures. Otherwise you'd still be going round drowning women in rivers to prove they're innocence of witch crimes.

There has been so much evidence to prove that America's lack of gun control is counter productive:

* higher suicide rates

* the numbers family members accidentally killed by their own guns

* mass shootings

Even when looking at the figures in isolation, it's pretty damning. Then when you compare to statistics in the rest of the world, America's statistics become nothing short of embarrassing.

What's more, the UK, Australia and some other countries went through the same process of having relaxed gun control laws and then tightening them up because they came to the same realisation that guns are not comparable to free speech, power tools, nor any other the other dumb things pro-gun lobbies compare them with.


Self-defense is only successful if you kill the attacker? That's a disgusting and inhumane perspective.

Do you know that you are quoting the junk science that Clinton via the CDC asked Kellerman and Hemmenway to produce as a lead up to the 1993/94 Brady Bill and Assault Weapon Ban? The same of power that lead the 1996 congress banning the CDC from promoting policy advocation.

Among other issues such as full data never being released, the specific quote you have there was derived from police reports where someone was shot in their home. No other factors were considered like drug or spouse related, not if the home owner was shot by their gun, or any one of a number of other factors that would paint a better picture.

Do you seriously think police reports where someone was shot no other questions asked is a good indicator for gun ownership in the USA?

Well, unfortunately, the CDC wasn't allowed to study the affects of guns for years and still may not be able to.


Also incorrect.

The CDC has been able to and has studied guns since that 1996 law.

They have not been allowed to suggest policy changes.

Interestingly when the ability to weaponize them went away, a lot less direction went into gun studies compared to the millions of dollars spent in the ramp up to 1993.

So if the CDC found asbestos causes cancer they can suggest policy changes but if they found guns kill people they can’t?

Would you be okay if the CDC couldn’t suggest policy changes when it comes to nicotine?

What’s the purpose of studying something if you can’t do anything with the results?

It prevents the CDC from being weaponized like it was by Clinton admin.

Anyone pushing for policy is free to cite the CDC results of studies. As they have done.

But if you notice, the narrative has been CDC isn’t allowed to study guns which is a lie.

This was partially rolled back by an Obama EO (sorta, its complicated) and you know what ever CDC study since has found? No exact correlation to guns and crime. There have been some interesting results since 2013 like the fact that Assault Weapon Bans have not at all proven effective since less than 400 people have died per year in any recent time by rifles of all types let alone the subset of scary looking ones, that there are 500,000 to 3,000,000 successful defensive gun uses by citizens a year mostly where a shot isn’t needed compared to 10-15,000 homicides in the country of 330,000,000 are over 75% gang or drug related, and that rural areas of USA where the guns are have effectively the same homicide rates as rural Europe when you look at like for like causes of the violence.

Specifically the CDC was barred from having tax payer money used to remove citizens civil rights.

Last I checked there was no enumerated right to asbestos or nicotine.

In some ways the Dickey Amendment empowered them to push the false narrative of a strong relationship between guns and crime. Rather than having to put forward quality studies for their political purposes, they could just handwave at the legislation like it was a foregone conclusion.

Yea, but the problem was Clinton used them as a weapon and it was pretty clear that administrations couldn't trusted to not do that again.

It wasn't perfect, but you're talking millions of dollars that went into the 92/93/94 push. That's hard to come up with for narrative building when it's not tax payer money. Just look at the single source of gun control in the USA today, Michael Bloomberg, if he wasn't personally bankrolling it, things would look a lot different.


> One study found that when a gun is present in the home, that gun is 43 times more likely to kill a family member than to kill an intruder.

There's a world of difference between OP's own circumstances and a statistical household average.

If s/he lives outside of an urban area and his family has no history of mental illness, the number drops dramatically. And s/he would know his/her own circumstances.

One is an anecdote, the other is factual data. As someone else said, guns might be okay for someone's personal circumstances but on average they are far more likely to hurt you than help.

Someone thinks they know their own circumstances until they become a number contributing to that average. Also I'm curious about your distinction between urban gun access and rural access and how that affects the stats here.

> As someone else said, guns might be okay for someone's personal circumstances but on average they are far more likely to hurt you than help.

The comment I was responding to did not say this.

> Also I'm curious about your distinction between urban gun access and rural access and how that affects the stats here.

It's no secret that the gun deaths and shootings are far more likely in urban areas than rural ones. I think both sides of the debate acknowledge that.


I'm not a number contributing to an average, especially when it comes to a defensive use of a gun, because I didn't pull the trigger and no police report was made. I kept myself from becoming a statistic because I know my own circumstances. My body, my choice.

By the way, just s/gun/abortion/g and see if your arguments sound familiar.

yes, and the typical American family has 2.2 children.

first off, you didn't even cite the statistic correctly from the article:

> One study found that when a gun is present in the home, that gun is 43 times more likely to kill a family member than to kill an intruder.

it's talking about the gun being used (perhaps intentionally) to kill by anyone in the house, not just the owner.

the relevant statistic for someone seriously considering a gun for home defense would be in the cases where the weapon is properly stored, the owner trains regularly with it, and any plans for use of the gun during an intrusion are discussed with and understood by the family. it's a bit harder to find this data though...

There are multiple issues with quoting the statistic out of context:

* Even the article cites it as only a single study

* The wording of the statement implicitly includes suicide, which while non-negligible, are often conflated by gun control advocates without context. 60% of all adult gun deaths are by suicide

* You don't have to kill an intruder for the gun to be used successfully for self defense. You don't even have to pull the trigger. The context of comparing deaths as if they are equivalently valid ends is misleading

* A gun's purpose is not solely to kill intruders. Many people carry weapons concealed, which also provides value to them that is not strictly tied to killing intruders

And I'm probably missing several other misleading context, but the paper itself that's linked is behind a paywall.

No, guns do not make you violent. Being predisposed to violence and/or killing someone might make you decide to buy a gun, though.

What you quoted is that NPR-affiliate news blog's incorrect summary of a 1986 study of gunshot deaths in King County, WA from 1978-83. The paper abstract says:

"For every case of self-protection homicide involving a firearm, there were 1.3 accidental deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and 37 suicides."

Sample size was 50 homicides, 9 self-protection homicides, and only 2 of those by a resident against an intruder.

If you state it like that and consider that most thwarted home invasions do not end in death for the intruder, the narrative of the site you linked starts to fall apart. Studies like that tend to fall apart further when you look at exactly who was shooting who under what circumstances. How many "non-intruders" were really drugged out "family" members? Is it not okay to defend yourself if you know your attacker? "Family members" could be relatives living elsewhere and known to be dangerous, but who stop by uninvited. When studies cite "children", that can include older teen gang bangers (and gang bangers can be younger, too). The rhetorical tricks are legion.

Trying to impute homicidal impulses to people because they own a gun is simply ridiculous. You wonder why gun rights advocates get pissed off whenever any anti-gun stats or articles are tossed around? It's because they're almost always exaggerated, designed to mislead, and mis-attribute whether gun ownership or possession was the proximate cause of violence.

That the author of that WBUR blog post is still peddling an "assault weapon bad!" narrative indicates that they are not to be trusted. What those people really want is to ban all semi-autos with detachable magazines. If you could enforce it and not grandfather old guns, that might reduce mass shootings (or the number of deaths per). I can agree with that 100%. I only disagree that you could pass that law and that it could be enforced (without suspending the rest of the bill of rights). It would affect not just guns used in the Las Vegas mass shooting, but every single ordinary (non-revolver) semi-auto handgun owned commonly for self defense. They too use detachable mags of arbitrary size.

Any people using the emotional phrase "assault weapon", rather than talking honestly about banning functional characteristics like guns that accept detachable, potentially large magazines (you can't regulate magazines very well, you can 3d print ones that are good enough to be used for one mass shooting), are either not aware enough of the policy landscape to be offering an opinion, or they're intentionally writing misleading propaganda.

Well if you want to cherrypick like that, I have no family members. What is 43 times zero?

Even then, more wanted than needed (unless you're inform and/or immobile).

That statement implies a lot of assumptions that may not be correct.

The only thing anyone outside of the US needs to see to understand the insane situation we have with gun ownership can be found in this news story about Waymo driverless cars:


"“Haselton said that his wife usually keeps the gun locked up in fear that he might shoot somebody,” Jacobs wrote in the report. “Haselton stated that he despises and hates those cars (Waymo) and said how Uber had killed someone.”

Haselton's wife told officers he was diagnosed with dementia, according to a police report."

gun manufacturers ... automatic weapon

It's illegal in America for private citizens to own automatic weapons manufactured after [some date - 1984?]. Since gun manufacturers thus can't sell them such weapons, they have no interest in making people want them.

1986, and not technically true, but you're close. 1) You need a special stamp from the Feds, which puts you on a list. 2) Some states still outlaw them. 3) Because the law effectively froze the supply of ownable automatics, they're incredibly expensive collector's items, making them largely unaffordable for the average civilian. Further, because of #1, the typical paranoid gun hoarder won't get one.

I mean, why not? Wouldn't it be reasonable to stoke a desire for that in order and use the resulting frustration as a way to continue to keep a segment of their consumers frustrated with government overreach and limitation on 2A? There's plenty of gun mags that talk about all the high powered tech that the military has access to. If there was no civilian interest in that stuff, it wouldn't be published.

You want motivated consumers screaming for your products, and large segment of keeping the 2A in place is reminding consumers that "if you don't have access to guns, bad people will do bad things that could have been prevented".

The GP probably meant semi-automatic, which firearms are ubiquitous. It might have been better to offer that correction than a derailing argument which was itself somewhat inaccurate.

That's mostly intentional. I think it's fair that someone demonstrating ignorance of such a fundamental concept as the difference between auto and semi-auto firearms should have their thoughts on firearms discounted to at least some degree.

There are better ways to be a gun nerd than jumping all over someone who may have just omitted a word. https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

No, they didn't just omit the word. They actually don't know the difference:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21348242 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21348730

This is not someone who is informed about the topic.

I don't care. The cure that is to offer a correction, not try to detail the conversation with personal attacks.

Correction was provided: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21349164

It had no effect.

Well, seeing that I never said anything about banning them and just compared the “scare tactics”.....

I don't think it's wrong to call out a common fear-mongering tactic.

This is blatantly false. Private transfer of fully automatic weapon is fully legal, provided you live in the right state and register it with the ATF (and pay a $200 tax stamp).

The prohibition target the manufacture of such weapon for civilian market past 1984. As such, there is naturally a very high demand for a very low offer, and prices are astronomical, IIRC about $20k for a pre-1984 M-16 receiver. If you have the money to buy a such receiver and your state law do not prohibit you from owning the weapon, go ahead, fill the ATF paperwork, wait 6 months, and enjoy your full-auto M-16. With more paperwork, you can even shot it as a full-auto suppressed SBR. 100% legal.

Did the GP edit their post? Because your post does not conflict with theirs.

Startup idea: combine the two! Personal gun cameras with high speed photography on the trigger pull that can be used to exonerate lawful shootings and conveniently deleted if not. Maybe use machine learning for that.

Next step, get funding from Bloomberg to push legislation that makes those "smart guns" required to price regular people out of gun ownership.

Joking aside, Mr. Biden wants to make this a law: https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/27/18952042/joe-biden-smart-...

He of course fails to consider that this will simply make guns more un-affordable from the poorest Americans. Those people tend to live in the worst neighborhoods where police respond poorly, and therefore often need them most.

Return of the Navy Laws.

> Maybe use machine learning for that.

Too late?[0,1] PGFs (Precision Guided Firearms) will take a picture, and help you aim too. They even have apps for your iPhone. Like how CA has a tech focused start-up culture, TX has something of a gun focused start-up culture [2]. IRL aim-bots have been around for ~6 years now, though those companies tend to snatched up by the DoD pretty quickly, so it's tough/expensive to acquire.

[0] https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23571-self-aiming-rif...

[1] http://www.tracking-point.com/

[2] Can MA give us an education focused start-up culture? Maybe NC a health care focused one?

How long before this gets integrated with AR and you get a HUD with a reticle showing where the bullet will land based on how you're holding the gun?

Less than a year according to the US Army and Microsoft.

>The IVAS Prototype Project seeks to provide a HUD 3.0 and integrated STE Squad capability within the Squad Architecture in support of Army, Marines, and Special Operations Forces within 24 months. The PPA shall deliver a baseline standalone STE Squad capability within 12 months, and STE Squad capability integrated into HUD 3.0 within 24 months. This complete IVAS capability shall be suitable to begin production as early as 4Q20 to ensure clear overmatch in Close Combat engagements and drastically increase Squad Lethality.


Don't analog gun sights effectively already do this?

To some degree. Gun sights provide a point by drawing a fixed line down the barrel.

That method does not handle factors that cause the bullet's trajectory to not be perfectly straight or flat, such as wind, gravity, Coriolis Effect, etc. They're generally sufficient for short range shorting, but at longer ranges a large part of the skill comes in being able to adjust your sights to compensate for those factors.

Gun sights are also somewhat ineffective because they are only usable from a single position. You can't point the gun around a corner or lift it over the top of something you're hiding behind and still use them unless you expose your head as well. This method would change that and might give you some kind of a camera feed to a HUD that shows where your bullets would hit.

Not useful for civilian life, but I can understand army interest in it.

Next step: Defense contracting work.

"Their coming right for us." Would be an appropriate voice command to delete the footage.

Once you get to a population density that allows police departments big enough that most cops can have social circles that are only other cops (I'm not claiming cause or effect, just that this seems to be about the crossover point) cops tend to start wanting everyone else not be armed.

Edit: yes I'm totally wrong which is why city police departments constantly fight against gun control. /s

There are certainly exceptions, I've met a few, but in my experience small-town cops aren't typically bullish on private gun ownership either (except for themselves of course..)

When I've looked at the stats in California, the rate that CCWs are issued at (which depends upon what the local sheriff's or police department considers to be a "good cause") is inversely correlated with population density.

A sheriff or police chief approving CCW permits does not necessarily mean that person personally approves of private firearm ownership. It may be the case that the sheriff is putting aside their personal beliefs when on the job. Their willingness to do so might reflect the nature of small town politics (particularly in the cases of sheriffs, who are elected, but also in the case of police chiefs who are nominated by somebody who is in turn elected.)

The phrase "I don't approve of what you're doing but I'll defend your right to do it" comes to mind.

That's true. The sheriff is setting the general guidelines for the process. However from what I've seen there's ample opportunity for an individual officer to impact the outcome of an application. The sheriff's deputies are the ones performing interviews and making determinations regarding someone's "good cause", "moral character", etc. I think pretty much any bureaucracy gives individual bureaucrats ample opportunity to let their own personal beliefs influence their decision making.

Things like the push for 2A Sanctuary Cities may be pandering, but I think it wouldn't be happening if the cops in question were strongly against civilian ownership of firearms.

One of my small-town shooting buddies is a cop. He's quite supportive of individual responsible gun ownership.

Well that's just about all the data I need to come to a firm conclusion on the matter

The primary one gun manufacturers use is shining a spotlight on every instance of a Democrat comment or putting forth legislation that limits gun ownership. I think most people would be surprised at how frequently this happens when you include local governments. Of course, most of those bills never have a chance of passing, they're just virtue signaling for the left. But it really invigorates the right. When Obama took office some types of guns and ammo were not widely available for literally years. People were so afraid he'd take their guns they hoarded them like crazy.

And that worries more. The last thing I want is a “War on Guns”. If it’s anything like the “War on Drugs”, it will only be a “War” on minorities.


>Throughout the late 1960s, the militant black nationalist group used their understanding of the finer details of California’s gun laws to underscore their political statements about the subjugation of African-Americans. In 1967, 30 members of the Black Panthers protested on the steps of the California statehouse armed with .357 Magnums, 12-gauge shotguns and .45-caliber pistols and announced, “The time has come for black people to arm themselves.”

>The display so frightened politicians—including California governor Ronald Reagan—that it helped to pass the Mulford Act, a state bill prohibiting the open carry of loaded firearms, along with an addendum prohibiting loaded firearms in the state Capitol. The 1967 bill took California down the path to having some of the strictest gun laws in America and helped jumpstart a surge of national gun control restrictions.

Exactly what I was referring to. I didn’t want to turn this into an NRA bashing political post.

I'm not sure how you think the NRA looks good here.

I had no intention of making the NRA look good. But the minute I start pointing out that Reagan was all for gun control when Black people were “exercising their rights”, Ill get flag for being political.

It already is. What communities do you think politicians are targeting when they ban cheap guns, add $100/year licensing requirements, etc? If you don't think that laws targeting "Saturday night specials" are motivated by race or at least class, just look up the origin of the term.

I wager hollywood and the video game industry drive more gun sales than the NRA and all the marketing firms hired by gun manufacturers combined. The John Wick movies probably sold more guns than a hundred editions of NRA magazines.

Every issue of the NRA's monthly magazine has a column that runs reports of people defending themselves with guns.

They are typically not sourced well enough for an independent confirmation.

You can visit /r/dgu for an aggregation of reports from news sources.

Letters to Penthouse, NRA Edition

Typically third person rather than first, but it's not clear that they have much greater factual basis.

This comment seems to have initiated a surprisingly long thread on the topic of guns. A worthy topic, but I was hoping to see more discussion on surveillance, privacy and related things. Perhaps someone should drop an inflammatory submission on firearms and let the flames frolic there.

No one has said that “all guns should be banned” and that gun owners are “obsessed with their bibles and guns” nor has anyone on the other side called people who don’t own guns “skinny jeans wearing liberals”.

This has been a relatively non inflammatory discussion.

Yep and it leaves the same question unanswered: Who or what protects the rest of us from these people protecting themselves with { cameras | guns }?

I live in the south. It amazes me that anyone thinks it’s a good idea to break into someone’s house to steal something with the number of people who own guns. There are much less dangerous ways to obtain money illegally.

the current trends, going by metro Atlanta news, is simply trying to find cars which are unlocked and slider attacks at gas stations; where they look for people who leave valuables in their if not the keys while they pump gas. The number of people leaving valuables in their cars and in full view is not insignificant

Why do you need protection from someone else protecting themself? Are you committing an act of violence against that person?

Well, why does that person need protection? Is it because he's committing an act of violence against whoever he thinks he needs protection from?

No, but ironically, he is committing an invasion, against everybody. To himself he's a disciplined warrior defending his precious family against the forces of chaos. To me he's a poorly-trained, hysterical coward willing to pollute the entire world and fill it with guns and surveillance cameras pointed at ME on behalf of his family about whom I'm not obliged to care in the slightest. God forbid I should be in that neighborhood if I'm black or "acting weird" in accordance with my god-given rights. What are this random guy's criteria and thresholds for threat assignment? With the police, I know what they are or could find out. And ostensibly they're trained for each thing. So yeah, ironically, as little as many people trust the police, they're still way more trustworthy than this guy.

Well, if you watched the news about how many people have felt threatened by a “menacing looking minority” you would understand why “people protecting themselves” is often worrisome.

This doesn't seem like a very intellectually honest appraisal of the situation. Most obviously, gun manufacturers are not exclusively serving people who live in safe suburban areas. Also, gun manufacturers tend to only advertise in publications and spaces that gun enthusiasts frequent, so anyone who might be influenced by them has already decided to include violent crime in their threat model and prepare accordingly.

And lastly, perhaps anecdotally, I've never ever seen anything to the effect of that message outside of tongue-in-cheek internet forum shitposting. Firearms manufacturers are highly feature-oriented in their marketing, with some generic patriotic bells and whistles if anything. What you wrote is just a gross caricature of the motivation and practice of self defense.

You haven’t seen all of the uproar about taking away automatic weapons? Why else would you need an automatic weapon except to go against a group of people? I’m not anti-gun - especially at home. If someone breaks into my house, I’m going to assume they mean me harm.

There are only four people who should be coming into our house without us letting them in and they all have the code to our alarm.

What are you even talking about? Ownership of automatic weapons in the US is extremely rare and highly regulated. There have been < 5 deaths in the US with automatic weapons since the NFA passed.

This comment is one reason why it's so hard to discuss firearm issues, one side is completely emotional and has no understanding of the facts or current laws.

Aren’t you kind of making my point? Hardly anyone owns automatic weapons but there is still an uproar about “taking them”.

There is no uproar about government taking away automatic weapons, as producing new automatic weapons has been outlawed since the 70s. To purchase one, you have to live in a state where it is legal to own, find someone owning a pre-ban automatic rifle and who is willing to sell, do some ATF paperwork, pay some fees, wait some time, and then you can get it. However, given how rare those guns are, we are talking prices around $20k+ (mentioned elsewhere in the thread, I personally have no idea about the actual prices as I have never been interested enough to look into it).

The only uproar about “taking them” that I have heard in the past decade was about taking away guns in general.

> " we are talking prices around $20k+"

It really depends on the machine gun in question. Transferable Mac 10s are sufficiently common and lame that they're still under $10k. (That hardly invalidates your overall point, even 'cheap' transferable machine guns are still expensive.)

No. Any uproar is over attempting to ban semi-automatic weapons. The fact that you don't understand this fundamental difference should be a big hint that you shouldn't be arguing about it.

Seen it? I'm part of it. But it's not some influence campaign from gun companies, who can't even legally sell them to anyone except the government.

I boggle at why security cameras would be sending the video offsite to a third party.

Storing it locally is absurdly more efficient and ... actually compatible with having security unlike blindly sending the footage to a third party.

Why have we normalized this absurd behavior?

Storing it on a device especially one like the Ring where the whole device is outside the house makes them much less useful as a security device because a thief just has to steal the Ring device to steal the data.

Who said anything about storing it on the Ring? It's connected to your WiFi, just store it on a NAS (even a Ring-branded one).

Can't they just take the NAS?

If the NAS is outside of your home, where do you put it? Only the 1% own multiple homes and asking your parents or friends to hold it would just be...weird and complicated.

And then you'd need to keep a separate NAS in your home, for the camera pointed at the NAS in your parent's house of course.

Suffice it to say, it kind of makes sense to let Ring store all of the video in one central location since they can just hire armed guards to keep it safe. If you yourself can afford armed guards, you're probably not in their target market.

You'd have to find it first. Burglars tend to want to be in and out quick, as opposed to combing the house for all electronic storage devices. OK, if you get burglarized by professional spies or secret police they'll probably find it, but I'd venture to say in that case you have bigger problems than an Amazon Ring is going to help you with.

Someone could have burned down your house. Data could have been corrupted for any unrelated reason. Any physical storage could be confiscated by law enforcement for any reason (maybe there is incriminating evidence against them).

There are LOTS of reasons why you'd want redundant off-site backup.

Those caveats are still enough for me to want on-premises storage for my cameras. Your examples honestly seem like unlikely edge cases compared to wholesale privacy intrusion by data center hacks or Ring just deciding to give your footage to police. It shouldn't even be possible for Ring to share images/videos from your camera if it were designed correctly.

> it kind of makes sense to let Ring store all of the video in one central location since they can just hire armed guards to keep it safe.

Ring can hire all of the armed guards in the world, and it won't protect your data from Ring.

Is there any reason, other than expense, the NAS couldn't be reasonably secured on site? Put it in a box made of quarter inch steel plate, then bolt that to the concrete foundation. If they bring a cutting torch or jackhammer they could take it... but they're not going to.

With the density of modern storage media, the secure box could be quite small, much smaller even than a typical residential safe. And it needn't necessarily be accessible like a typical safe. If you design it right, it needn't even have a door that could be pried open with sufficient leverage.

It could at the same time be disguised. It could be bolted to a concrete wall, covered with a fake electrical conduit box (which would help disguise the wires going into it), then completely covered over by drywall. To find it you'd need to gut the house, and in the unlikely event that the thief found it they'd still be left with a hard nut to crack.

> Is there any reason, other than expense, the NAS couldn't be reasonably secured on site?

It's not even expensive. I have a couple of NASes in my home, but it would take a pretty intensive search to find them -- certainly more than a thief has time for. (I don't hide them to keep them from thieves, I hide them to keep them out of sight and out of the way for aesthetic reasons.)

Living in rentals or apartment buildings would make it difficult to do that.

That's a lot of installation effort for a simple video door bell.

It doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) stored on the device that's outside of your house.

It's an extra setup and device for a customer to manage and if they want to view the data on their other devices away from home (a large part of the marketing of Ring et al) you get into difficulties getting the data from the 'home NAS' solution, it's 10x easier to just have the devices stream to the cloud 24/7 and deal with accessing it from there.

While I think you're exaggerating the difficulty of doing this without involving an external service, I fully acknowledge that it's easier to have someone else take care of the whole thing.

But that convenience comes with a cost.

The most difficult part is making sure the connection to fetch recordings when requested by a person using the app is reliable. That needs the server or your phone to be able to contact the NAS on the other side of your ISP and your router. That's hard and a headache to trouble shoot compared to just having the camera stream to some central server.

A thief would surely just disconnect the modem if this were an issue. This can even be done before entering the house in most cases. Cutting power might be even easier. It’s truly fascinating imagining the crimes that ring could document.

They would be disappointed to find out that My LAN hardware was powered by an UPS. And that security camera footage is streamed off-premise by the backup satellite connection.

That aside, I am pretty sure that in ‘typical’ consumer deployments, cutting power and/or cable from a house will disable and debilitate most alarm and security systems.

In reality, most people don’t have goods that are easily liquidated to make the b&e worth it in the first place. Most houses are are not at risk from professional thieves. Most houses certainly wouldn’t stand up to sustained penetration if there was an established fencable commodity worth the risk. Cops are absolutely terrible at solving crimes even with video evidence. Ring is intended to be a soothing mechanism, not a tool with a well-defined utility value, and it has the side effect of creating citizens who are paranoid for no reason.

Why cut the cords when you can deauthenticate all of the wireless devices?

People like to check in on their house from their smartphone when they're not at home. This would be difficult to set up and secure without doing it in the cloud.

I really don’t understand why ISPs don’t sell VPN-to-the-home as a feature. It’s very useful and would make the scenario you describe trivial to set up. I imagine it would benefit the ISPs because they’d get not only your home traffic but your mobile traffic as well.

What of your mobile traffic would your ISP actually get though? Can you GeoIP a connection from a cellphone? That's probably coarse data at best right? They could probably buy the location data from the mobile carrier, but that's not something they'd get for free.

What the user was actually doing on their home VPN be largely opaque to the ISP. They might be able to make educated guesses like "this much traffic over this period of time looks a lot like somebody streaming a movie off their NAS", but that's pretty crude. I'm not sure they could really monetize that sort of data.

On the other hand home VPNs being common would probably increase the how much uploading the average user did. These sort of residential connections are almost always asymmetric because ISPs are counting on people downloading far more than they upload. By empowering users with home VPNs, the balance of upload/download might be upset in a way that isn't profitable for the ISP.

By “mobile data” I don’t mean location data, I mean your internet usage while you’re out and about. If you’re sending all that out through your home VPN, your ISP has a bigger picture of your overall internet usage, not just your home usage.

As for upload amounts, you are probably uploading less data, not more, because you don’t have to upload 100% of the data to the cloud to access 1% of it on demand.

I don't really get the full picture of what you're proposing, but would it be trivial enough to compare to just visiting a website from anywhere to see the footage? Because I think anything even slightly more complicated than that would turn off a lot of potential buyers.

I don’t know why it wouldn’t be.

If a device manufacturer could count on you having VPN access to your home network they could make it trivial to set up and use. You’d open an app or visit a URL, log in, and you’d have access.

If it's in an app, then maybe they can rely on your phone already being in the VPN. However, if it's in a website, then you have to give them access to export the footage out of your network and into their third-party servers (you can't expect the customers to configure and host an HTTP server from their network). You lose the advantage of the VPN (in this scenario) then. From a typical customer's point of view, it's better to be able to access their stuff from a website than from an app, because they can access their stuff from more devices without prior configuration. For example, they can borrow a friend's laptop to see the footage without needing to get them to install or configure anything to get into the VPN.

I think that any solution that includes a VPN is going to lose out in convenience even slightly against a solution that doesn't, and in a market where convenience and ease of use goes above all else, it would just not work.

Eh, no it's not? Ubiquiti's camera solution for example works by negotiating a direct connection between the actual local NVR and the connecting phone app. This is more than easily possible to do securely.

> This would be difficult to set up and secure without doing it in the cloud.

No, it really isn't difficult without the cloud. All the cloud does is make it a bit more convenient.

Lots of HNers here claiming the problem is worth solving and easy to solve. Yet none with a product, profitable or otherwise. Interesting combination of circumstances.

The popular "product" in this space is a cloud based offering with a monthly service cost and a side income based on selling analysis of customer data...

It has good margins and could afford to market heavily and invest in feature development vs anything else. As a result an alternative might well be great for users, great for the world, and also an unsuccessful business.

Doubly so because it's essentially already solved. Setup a standard NVR and portmap it. The marginal gains are just in making it more secure (few care, obviously, or ring wouldn't exit) or a little easier to configure.

> Yet none with a product, profitable or otherwise.

I'm not sure how meaningful that actually is. I know that it's reasonably easy because I've done it a number of times, but I have zero interest in making a productized solution.

lol yeah ok go tell the ppl who can barely turn their computers on how to set that up and let me know the results

I would argue that people who have that low of a level of computer knowledge shouldn't be using IoT anything in the first place -- it's too dangerous for inexperienced people to use.

Because a lot of people aren’t home 24 hours a day, and thieves can steal cameras and computers. I use local storage for my security since I’m paranoid, but it’s more of a pain than Ring.

It's only a pain because someone didn't do the hard work for you. Local storage with mobile access should be an option for more products. I'm sure this is a solvable problem...

It's not the easiest solution but the trade-offs are necessary.

Likewise with the poor state of router security.

The cheapest options like Wyze do function this way but are vulnerable to any of the threats that the camera is trying to detect (theft, fire, etc)

The average person's knowledge of routers and home networking probably stops just short of knowing how to assign static IPs, and definitely stops short of setting up a home VPN. If people knew how to do those 2 things, there might be less need to rely on "cloud" solutions like Ring. Blue Iris and a PC on the network is a great alternative...

If someone breaks in and steals your storage, you are SOL.

If a thief broke in and was smart enough to nab the security footage, pretty sure that person is too smart to be breaking into a place with cameras.

Or perhaps they are smart enough to break into such places :)

Just spitballing here... if the only camera is the Ring, then bypassing it seems like it would be easy. You can blind the camera with a laser without being visible yourself, then approach it and tape over the camera, or just take a rock and knock the whole thing off the wall.

1) Give the local computer a public key, and have all video get encrypted as it goes into storage.

2) Keep the associated private key protected to your preference of security and convenience.

3) Decrypt the videos when you want to view them (if you're comfortable storing the private key on your phone, the only difference to the end user should be lag -- unless they lose the private key).

How does encrypting your video help if the device that contains the video is stolen? The thief wont be able to view themselves committing the crime?

Lulz, I took xsmasher to be worried about infosec in the case of a break-in -- I hadn't considered the issue of retaining the data until just now. Having it backup the encrypted video to cloud storage mitigates that worry while still keeping the info secure, though.

That's the fault of people who are completely brain dead and leave the DVR in plane sight. Hide the damn thing far from the monitor and run an hdmi/dvi extender.

That's what I did for a friend. We hid it in a kitchen cabinet behind canned items and ran a VGA cable to the living room TV on the other side of the kitchen wall. No one would know it was there.

rsync or lftp (sftp subsystem) to a chroot sftp server with encrypted partitions.

or 7-zip encrypt video chunks and upload using above method.

In both cases, you can control the server and the data. You can hand over data that is applicable to the period of time in question and you still have your local copy.

The time delay in your suggestion means you would miss the video that is most important if someone steals things.

You can use inotify to kick off rsync for each chunk. The delay would depend on video chunk size. Put the processing machine in a locked case that is anchored to the floor. You can probably get the last few minutes of them trying to jimmie the cabinet assuming they can even find it.

If your house burned down unexpectedly you'd be sort of curious to see what happened right?

Or even just if the power or internet was out. The whole point of these things is to be able to see what's going on when something unexpected happens.

It's doubtful that a camera on your doorstep is going to be particularly informative about your house fire. :) Though if fire is a concern, fire hardened nases are a thing.

If the power is out the camera is out (unless it's on a UPS, in which case the storage can be too...).

If the internet is out your cloud storage is out-- this is a problem that a local solution doesn't have.

Because they can charge monthly service fees, duh. It's the new age economy. Find anything and turn it into a subscription.

> I boggle at why security cameras would be sending the video offsite to a third party.

Ring isn't a "third party", they're the party from which users (of which I am one) buy the cameras and the services that go with them.

One of the services is being able to see live views from your cameras, or watch stored videos, from anywhere through the app. This is very useful if you're away from home. Storing videos locally wouldn't support that.

> Storing videos locally wouldn't support that.

Of course it is--don't fall for the okeydoke. Encrypt with a passphrase. Provide the same passphrase in the app. Ring's central server exists only to pull streams on-demand and route them directly to the app. Ring can still even store VOD data if you really want; they don't have the ability to perpetuate the panopticon through it, though.

There, I fixed it.

> Encrypt with a passphrase. Provide the same passphrase in the app.

Are you saying Ring already offers this capability?

Sorry, I mean that Ring's server then only acts as a router. I strongly doubt it does that now, though I wouldn't give them money so I can't say for sure.

Yes, storing video locally would support that. On request, the app and the local storage would negotiate a session key, and the video would be transferred to the phone. Ring would only have the encrypted video, and would not have the decryption key for it.

Yes, it would be slower, would require video encoding/rescaling near the local storage, but it would actually be secure that way.

> storing video locally would support that. On request, the app and the local storage would negotiate a session key, and the video would be transferred to the phone.

How do they do that if the app is halfway across the country? They have to go through a common server.

With public key encryption.

Public-key encryption requires the two endpoints to be able to send each other data. See my comments about ISPs and firewalls elsewhere in this thread.

Yes, nobody is saying there won't be a central server... just that said central server won't be able to access the contents of the video.

The same way an HTTP[S] proxy works.

How would an HTTP[S] proxy help me to talk to a computer that's behind my home NAT firewall if my ISP won't allow me to run Internet-visible servers?

First off, as mentioned in other comments, ISPs tend to not enforce the rules about not running Internet-visible servers.

But let's go ahead and go with your assumption that they are. You can still have a secure connection from your doorbell camera to a mobile app anywhere in the world. Both your app and your camera connect to an intermediate server. This server merely acts like a proxy, passing packets between the two. Using a standard TLS handshake, the app can establish encryption with the camera without the proxy in the middle being able to decrypt the traffic. When the camera is initially setup, it can generate a TLS certificate that the app can download and pin (Since the app and camera will be on the same Wifi network), so that the proxy server can't try to present its own and intercept the communications.

If you need me to go into greater detail, I can. But this is definitely a solved problem.

EDIT: Another way to think of this...apps like Signal and Wire let people talk to each other by each client connecting to a central server to send and retrieve messages, but without the ability for those central servers to intercept the contents of the messages through public key encryption. The camera-to-app connection would work basically the same way.

I understand all this, but is there any camera out there that supports this kind of setup out of the box? Or do I have to roll my own if I want to do this?

No idea. You'd probably have to roll your own.

> Storing videos locally wouldn't support that.

Sure it does.

The Internet is a global wide area network that connects computer systems across the world.

Perhaps you got confused and thought that the internet only connected you to Amazon? :)

Smarm aside, I really wonder how you ended up thinking this?

You're not the only person I've encountered that seemed to think cameras had to upload 'to the cloud' to be useful. E.g. after posting cute animal footage from my cameras ( https://people.xiph.org/~greg/troups.webm ) I got a number of comment from people along the lines of being surprised that I'd hand footage of my home over to amazon which made no sense until I found out about how ring worked.

This is quite surprising to me, because the bandwidth involved and the requirement for working internet connectivity makes remote storage seem really costly and unattractive to me and I was surprised to learn that's what products like ring were doing.

> Perhaps you got confused and thought that the internet only connected you to Amazon? :)

Please save your patronizing for someone else.

> You're not the only person I've encountered that seemed to think cameras had to upload 'to the cloud' to be useful.

I've explained exactly what I think the issue is, and a number of people have given useful responses. You haven't.

> the bandwidth involved and the requirement for working internet connectivity makes remote storage seem really costly and unattractive to me

If the camera doesn't have internet connectivity, I can't see what it's seeing when I'm away from home. That's a requirement, as I have already said.

I can see my cameras just fine when I'm away from home.

But they also keep recording while my internet connectivity goes out.

My cameras in aggregate also produce a lot more data than my internet connection could support-- about 180mbit/s during the day-- but that presets no problem for remote viewing because I only few a couple cameras at a time remotely. (I also can view the much lower bitrate substreams, while the full resolution is recorded locally.)

Can I ask what solution you use? ZoneMinder or something else?

Even if we ignore privacy implications, doesn't Ring seem a little... inefficient?

Having all of your cameras constantly uploading stuff to someone else's computer so that you could use your own client device (presumably, a smartphone) to look at a copy of stored videos (or a live feed) from someone else's computer? Wouldn't it be a bit more efficient to skip a step and stream straight from a computer within your home?

It really boggles my mind why anyone tech-savvy would not only agree to this ineffective approach, but also pay a monthly subscription for that service.

> Wouldn't it be a bit more efficient to skip a step and stream straight from a computer within your home?

Not if I'm away from home and can't talk directly to that computer because it's behind a firewall and my ISP won't let me run Internet-visible servers using my home Internet connection. (And even if the ISP would, while I, as a techie, might be willing to set up my own streaming server and poke a hole in my firewall for it, I'm not sure the average user would be able or willing to do that.)

To quote myself:

> It really boggles my mind why anyone tech-savvy...

I wasn't talking about average users.

> and my ISP won't let me run Internet-visible servers using my home Internet connection.

I'll give you that one. I know that Google Fiber has an exception for such use cases. From: https://support.google.com/fiber/answer/2659981?hl=en&topic=...

> However, personal, non-commercial use of servers that comply with this AUP is acceptable, including using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multi-player gaming, video-conferencing, and home security.

I know that other ISPs in the US are somewhat shittier in this regard.

Some ISPs will say they don't "support" or "allow" it in their legalese, but it's just words they never enforce. It seems ridiculous to me as a customer to have an Internet connection yet only use it for outbound connections, and I've never had a problem running public-facing services on my "consumer grade" home connection.

Security camera video is much lower bandwidth than you might think. Most of the time the scene isn't changing and compressed almost perfectly.

It's still video-- unless you want to seriously compromise on quality or frame rate it's an outdoor camera will use decent amount of bandwidth. (I agree an indoor security camera with no view of a window can be awfully low bitrate).

Looks like my cameras, all outdoor, average about 7mbit/sec each-- most of my cameras are 2 or 4mpixel ones though the number is inflated by a couple 12mpixel wide angle cameras. I'm sure I could tune the bitrate a bit more if I tried, but already I turned them down until just before there was a noticeable reduction in face intelligibility at the end of their range.

I mean... you can store videos locally and then access them over the internet while managing all of the hardware/software yourself. Though, that is another layer of complexity the average user won't be bothered with. People trade privacy for convenience.

> that is another layer of complexity the average user won't be bothered with.

Yes. Plus ISPs (or at least US ones) won't allow you to run an Internet-visible server using your home Internet connection.

> Plus ISPs (or at least US ones) won't allow you to run an Internet-visible server using your home Internet connection.

That's not entirely the case. I've been running internet-visible servers from home for decades. My current ISP (Comcast) doesn't have a problem with that, even contractually, as long as you aren't running publicly available services, and I've never had a problem with any of my prior ISPs.

In practice I’ve never had a problem with running any server on my home connection except an SMTP server which required me to ask them to open the port directly (and they did).

Most ISPs don’t seem to care if you’re not using a ridiculous amount of bandwidth. Many will sell you a package that explicitly allows it. I currently have access to live view and recorded video from my security system and haven’t had any problems at all.

In the case of wide adoption of such a thing I imagine the ISPs either offering a more expensive package, or clamping down and offering their own version of the service through some monstrosity of a modem/router. It’s probably the latter that motivates most of these companies to use “the cloud”. There’s certainly ways around the problem for a motivated company, though.

I've run plenty of internet-visible servers (HTTP, Mumble, Ventrilo, SSH, various game servers) on Comcast, Verizon, and Frontier and never had an issue.

The ToS says you can't, but it isn't enforced.

If you change the port used, is it considered 'internet-visible'?

The live feed should work more efficiently with local storage (by going directly to the user rather than getting routed through a man-in-the-middle first), and the recorded video would be available in any situations where the live video is (though perhaps over a worse connection than Ring's servers have).

The title makes it sound more nefarious than it is. The stats are simply "the percentage of users who agreed to share videos with you is X."

First, it should be emphasized that no warrant or even probable cause seems needed for LE to obtain video from Amazon directly when a customer refuses or ignores a request.[1] Secondly, there is valid reason for concern if a customer declines compliance and is identified/profiled as a result.

1. https://reason.com/2019/08/09/no-probable-cause-required-for...

Additional points of concern:



Yes, I don't particularly have an issue with sharing email response rates. The police can figure it out if they want to. They can just divide the amount of footage received by the number of ring doorbells on front doors.

The article says that Ring keeps track of how many users ignore/take no action, and how many explicitly push the “Do not share” button in the emails.

The subtext of that is that such data is collected and stored, and can thus become the object of a warrant request at some future date. Your disinclination to assist today could be redefined as a crime tomorrow.

Hopefully 100%.

edit: Read as who agreed not to share.

In that case, hopefully 0% agreed to share.

This is weird to be because I would share in most cases. I'm for pretty massive reforms in policing in the US but there are also burglaries, missing persons, and other investigations where I would definitely help when I could.

It's really dumb. The only thing dumber is using cloud-hosted surveillance of your home. There are any number of solutions that store surveillance camera hits in your home on an SD card or hard disk.

Police can subpoena this information if they want it. They will if they need it for a prosecution. This whole practice is all about saving Amazon money on discovery requests. If there's a serious event they'll canvass neighborhoods and look for cameras anyway and approach you directly.

There are obvious issues with participating in something like this. The rules can change at any time, and you might find yourself in a pickle if you meet some vague description at a particular time of the day.

I probably wouldn't share -- I'd much, much prefer that the police actually get a warrant. But I also wouldn't be willing to install a surveillance camera that can be accessed by anybody except for me in the first place, so that's meaningless.

That should be your choice, with your knowledge.

It says users can review footage before sharing, so I could see situations where users reviewed footage and had no problem sharing the result. Doesn't seem like a big deal as long as its voluntary.

The Snowden revelations were 6 years ago and since then there there has been no meaningful reigning in of federal surveillance power or of public/private surveillance "partnerships". The world in which Amazon/Ring would respect your wishes regarding the footage is not the one we live in.

as long as its voluntary

Until it isn't.

All it takes is one person holding out in a neighborhood with a child kidnapping for enough hysteria to build for this to become legislated as mandatory.

I don't know how I feel about this.

If someone who lives across the street from a Ring door bell, hasn't given permission to be filmed by Ring/their neighbor/etc, shouldn't they have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" on their own property?

Unfortunately (?) there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for activities visible from public areas. That reasoning is used for everything from license plate scanners to upskirt videos.

No. You cannot reasonably expect privacy in plain view of a public roadway.

Huh. Not OP, but if the view is constant, I would be very pissed off. If I walk naked out my front door right now, chances are low anyone will see me (quiet neighborhood, it's past midnight), but if OP does it, boom, there s/he is on camera.

And the camera owner can extrapolate when OP/their family members are home or not, when people visit, etc, etc. Could that not be considered surveillance?

The law has not defined it as such. In reality, we absolutely expect our neighbors not to film our front doors 24/7 and give police access to the feed. The law is outdated and ought to be updated to protect against new abuses.

Neither reality nor morality is defined by the law.

Observation of public space is not "abuse" in any way.

Clearly some forms of observation are abuse, while others aren't. If I repeatedly hide inside the bushes right outside your land and look into your house, I'm merely observing. I'm still a stalker.

If I set up a camera to do the same, why is that better? People are constantly recording their neighbors' comings and goings, their visitors and associations, and sending that data to a bureaucratic megacorp that actively cozies up to law enforcement. "Observation of public space" is reductive, that's a cyberpunk nightmare. It's poisonous to free society.

This is actually my major objection to Ring. I'm glad that Ring surveillance gear has a unique light on it, so I know what neighborhoods to avoid. I'd want to avoid those neighborhoods partly to avoid being surveilled, and partly because if a neighborhood has more than the occasional Ring installed, that seems like a major indicator that the neighborhood has a high crime problem.

Read the EULA.

It's subject to change without notice, and your continued use is implied acceptance.

well also... assuming "maybe" or "skip" are not valid answers, if you have the people who answered "yes", don't you indirectly also have those who said "no"?

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