back to article Ring in the changes: Mandatory two-factor authentication, login alerts, targeted ads opt-out after punters voice privacy gripes

Ring will make two-factor authentication mandatory for all its customers, forcing them to enter a six-digit code before they can access their accounts, the Amazon-owned outfit announced on Tuesday. The move comes after miscreants discovered they could force their way into people’s Ring smart-home devices to yell at kids, and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

    Bollocks it does.

    All it means is I am guaranteed ads for more of the stuff I've already bought, stuff I've already looked at and decided not to buy, suppliers I already know about and suppliers who are so lame they feel the need to resort to behavioural advertising.

    If you believe targeted advertising us valuable, you are probably stupid enough to blindly buy what is shoved at you,

    1. robidy
      Pirate

      Re: "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

      It means they can extract more money from you at the optimal time...when you are richest cash wise and poorest will power wise.

      Gotta love how targeted advertising was sold as "good for you" ha ha.

      1. tfewster
        Facepalm

        Re: "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

        Ah, the Amazon model: "You just bought a Sony TV. Therefore you must 1) Have money 2) Like TVs. Would you like to buy a Samsung TV?"

        Er. 1) No, because I just spent it on a TV. 2) Hmm..actually, you got me there.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

      Of course it does. Personalized to customer's choice. My choice is NONE.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

        I'm also in the NONE camp. I don't want to see any ads, ever, on any software or hardware. If I need something I can find it myself. If I don't need something then I don't want to see ads telling me I do.

    3. John Sturdy
      Happy

      Re: "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

      I presume it is valuable to those who use it, or they wouldn't use it --- they analyze these things a lot.

      I let them target it at me, because on principle I never buy anything I remember seeing advertised, so more effective targetting means it's more likely to stop me buying something that I might otherwise have bought, and so makes their advertising to me counterproductive.

    4. dajames Silver badge

      Re: "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

      All it means is I am guaranteed ads for more of the stuff I've already bought ...

      That's good, though, isn't it? If you've already bought something you won't feel tempted to buy it again, so the advertising is the best kind possible (apart from none at all) -- the kind that doesn't affect your purchasing patterns at all.

      I'd much rather see ads for something I've already bought than for products I have NO interest in WHATSOEVER, or for products the mere existence of which causes me to doubt the worth of the human race as a whole.

      They'll let you ask them not to use your personal data to inform their choice of which adverts to shove down your throat, but don't be fooled into thinking that that will stop them collecting those data in the first place.

    5. James 139

      Re: "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

      I effing hate that!

      Go to website for company I work for, BAM! adverts for software I already don't pay for.

      Go to website to check for software updates, BAM! adverts for something already in use.

    6. Snake Silver badge

      Re: "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

      Bollocks indeed! Well said!

      2 months after I bought my house and signed the mortgage...came the bank emails asking "Looking for a house?? Get our great mortgage rates!" Why no, you idiots, I just BOUGHT a house with you, sorry.

      5 days after I bought new linens from Target, I get an email "Looking for linens??" Again, no, you idiots, I just bought them!!!

      Etc etc etc.

      Seriously, "advertising campaign programmer" must mean "blithering moron who can't code his way out of a paper bag", judging from the analytic 'analysis' their designs (don't) accomplish.

    7. VTAMguy

      Re: "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

      +1 to that. In addition to the usual feeble AI responses ("oh you bought a new car - want another?") there is quite often a fundamental mischaracterization of what personalized means. If I'm searching for information about healthcare for my small domesticated rodent pets, I get lots of ads with plenty of poison and knives and information on how to kill them. Plenty of other complete failures that miscontrue entirely what they think I want. Contrary to what their PR flacks spew, it's all very crude and badly designed and completely wrong most of the time. That is, it was aggravating until I blocked all ads of any kind from any source on every site. The whole "we're personalizing ads to make it a better experience" campaign is utter doo-doo. I block them all, the whole sorry lot of them. Websites that play games with ad-blocker blockers are abandoned. There will never be a website so critical to my life that I have to put up with eating turds to read it.

  2. Charles 9 Silver badge

    "Two-factor authentication goes a long way to stop that – but you should also not reuse passwords."

    Tell that to Joe Stupid who has terrible memory and has never heard of anything like a password safe (and probably can't be trusted to write things down because he/she doesn't live alone).

    "If you believe targeted advertising us valuable, you are probably stupid enough to blindly buy what is shoved at you,"

    And if you have firsthand experience that it works and is raking in the dough?

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      And if you have firsthand experience that it works and is raking in the dough?

      Hey, Hey, Hey. Amazon, Google, and Facebook are raking it in from Targeted Advertising, so obviously it works! Oh wait you meant is it working for the companies actually selling the product? Oh well, yeah No, umm, about that...

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      > "Two-factor authentication goes a long way to stop that"

      Two-factor authentication is just a way to add a telephone number to your marketing profile, nothing more.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "allow users to opt-out of sharing personal information"

    Bzzzt ! Wrong attitude, Ring. You should have created your "privacy vault" to not allow for sharing personal information unless the user opts in on that.

    For Pete's sake you don't need to have a PhD to understand that. You do, however, need a company that is not obviously built on sharing personal information with advertisers instead of being built on providing a service to its customers.

    Ring is just another company that caters to the ad market, using its IoT tat to farm the information from its stable of clueless users.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "allow users to opt-out of sharing personal information"

      Nice that they're supposedly cutting the crap by half.

      When they cut the other half, and make it possible for the users to put the cloudy bits on a server of their own choosing (e.g., under their own control), it'll start being a reasonable idea. Not before, and likely not a great idea even then.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: "allow users to opt-out of sharing personal information"

      LOL - you must be old Pascal, companies do not run on the principal of "providing a service" to their customers any more.

      Nowadays a company is in the business of extracting data from the customers and selling it. fI you are working with a "good" company than you are a sheep, waiting to be shorn. Most of us are just a lamb being fattened and heading for the slaughterhouse.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "allow users to opt-out of sharing personal information"

        If they want to do business in the EU and maintain that attitude they'd better add paying regular fines to their business plan.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: "allow users to opt-out of sharing personal information"

          They'll just do it until they successfully campaign to get the government changed so as to undo all those policies. They have the political clout, after all.

      2. Kane Silver badge

        Re: "allow users to opt-out of sharing personal information"

        "fI you are working with a "good" company than you are a sheep, waiting to be shorn. Most of us are just a lamb being fattened and heading for the slaughterhouse."

        The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want

        He makes me down to lie,

        Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by,

        With bright knives he releaseth my soul

        He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places

        He converteth me to lamb cutlets

        For lo, He hath great power, and great hunger

        When cometh the day we lowly ones

        Through quiet reflection, and great dedication

        Master the art of karate

        Lo, we shall rise up

        And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Ring-a-ring o' roses...

    I will have none of this fancypants IoT tat in my house. There will always be a security hole. Always.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Why stop at IoT your house?

      https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/18/smart-car-gig-rental-app-trapped

      This is going to turn up as a Reg story sooner rather than later. It appears that these rental cars need to phone home at regular intervals to work. If you happen to stop somewhere without cell service, say a stretch of scenic highway in Northern Califrornia (which isn't even out in the sticks that much) then you might find yuorself walking home.

      Call me a cynic or curmudgeon or whatever but I regard most modern software -- especailly that of the 'app' persuasion, as total crap.

  5. dajames Silver badge

    Security?

    I can't see that hanging a couple of hundred pounds worth of electronics on a wee bracket outside one's front door is a secure proposition in any language. Now the local yobs can help themselves to a small camera and a bunch of components without even having to kick your door down.

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Security?

      To be honest I'd rather them do that than break in and take what's inside. As a bonus you might get a mugshot or at least a profile of them that law enforcement may possibly bother with to match their crimes elsewhere.

  6. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Spotify

    All we need now is for Spotify to do the same thing to get into their account pages. People are crying out for it on their forums. They don't notify you if anything happens with your account they just shut the door after the horse has bolted. I had a password that had been raided from LinkedIn (yes I know, never re-use) and someone got in to my Spotify account and added 2 premium users to my subscription without me ever knowing. All I got eventually was an email from Spotify to tell me that they'd blocked access to my account as they'd detected unusual activity. I duly changed my password but hadn't seen the new accounts that had been added until I went to add someone new some time later. Everyone should now have some form of 2fa to prevent this.

  7. AJames

    I never re-use passwords, and even if I did I don't care who wants to look at my empty doorstep. I do care that I will once again have to go through a month of broken smart home controls and hours of patching and updating because a vendor decided that I must be forced to update equipment installed in my home that I don't want to update.

  8. cornetman Silver badge

    > Although the smart-home market has taken off, punters remain nervous about the idea of always-on internet-connected home security cameras, especially if there is a risk it is not entirely secure.

    If the device is controlled by someone else, then it is insecure by definition.

    I don't really understand why you need some kind of central control to get access to network-enabled equipment in your own home.

    If it is just for NAT/PAT traversal then surely there are better solutions to that.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Tell that to Joe Stupid, who's looking for turnkey solutions and won't take no for an answer.

      1. cornetman Silver badge

        I get that. However, a lot of people (Sonos, I'm looking, squinty-eyed, at you) are increasingly finding that their "turnkey" solutions no longer take the key.

  9. EnviableOne Silver badge

    looks like someone woke Jeff

    $10bn to climate change

    one of his companies improves mandatory security

    says it will stop targeting customers

    Lets hope more people drink the koolaid that Mr. Bezos has found recently

  10. Mike 137 Silver badge

    an opt-out for “personalized advertising,”

    It's extremely likely that "personalized advertising" with opt out is illegal in Europe and the UK under the e-privacy directive and PECR. It is arguably "unsolicited electronic direct marketing" which requires prior informed affirmative action (consent). The only ambiguity is whether such advertising is "generally available information" or strictly falls within the definition of electronic communication between parties.

    As the real time bidding systems used for placement of such advertising are under scrutiny throughout Europe, it seems likely that the personalised advertising itself, as a direct outcome of those systems, is open to legal challenge. However it is also apparent that, at least in the UK, the regulator has an extremely laissez faire approach when handling individual complaints. Consequently, a culture of tacit acceptability has emerged that makes it ever more difficult to challenge.

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