Ring adds end-to-end video encryption to its doorbells and security cameras at CES 2021

A preview of the Amazon company's new opt-in feature is available starting Jan. 13.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
2 min read
Chris Monroe/CNET

Smart home company Ring on Wednesday introduced end-to-end-encryption for its video doorbells and home security cameras. Launched as a "technical preview," Ring's end-to-end video encryption will roll out to existing customers starting today. The feature is available on an opt-in basis.

CNET temporarily stopped recommending Ring products in December 2019 due to privacy and security concerns, specifically its partnerships with law enforcement in the US and user data that was exposed in late 2019. Ring has updated its policies since, including making privacy and security settings more accessible via a Control Center dashboard and introducing mandatory two-factor authentication.

The Amazon-owned company's latest move to improve video encryption is another promising step toward users retaining control of their recorded video files. Still, it isn't the first company to offer it. Apple's HomeKit Secure Video platform also supports end-to-end encryption.

An opt-in feature

Ring says it already encrypts videos when they're uploaded to the cloud and when they're stored on its servers. End-to-end encryption gives customers "an additional lock" that only a customer can unlock on the phone associated with their Ring account. That means Ring and Amazon won't be able to decrypt and then view customer videos if this feature is used, even for law enforcement officials, a Ring representative said over email. 

Ring also confirmed that customers can't submit end-to-end encrypted videos through the Neighbors Public Safety Service Video Request portal. That portal is used as part of Ring's Neighbor's program, which enables customers to share video footage with law enforcement agencies. Customers using Ring's end-to-end encryption feature would need to decrypt the video before sharing it with police. 

To find your current encryption settings and to opt in to end-to-end encryption, visit the Ring app's Control Center and check out the Video Encryption page. I'll report back on what it's actually like to enroll in Ring's end-to-end encryption shortly, so stay tuned for updates.

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