The Ring is a popular company by Amazon and a staple in home security. Amazon Ring manufacturers install home security products, which show you who is at the door. With growing crime rates, people admired the Ring as it provided safety.
However, reports suggest that Amazon has provided Ring doorbell footage to law enforcement 11 times in 2022, and the worst part? It did so without asking for permission from the users.
Amazon Ring provides footage
The revelation has raised concerns amongst users about privacy and civil liberty about Amazon’s footage-sharing agreements with police departments. This was revealed after Senator Edward Markey made a letter from the company public.
Law enforcement can just fill out a form and remark that there is a life-threatening emergency, and Amazon will hand over the footage without any warrant or consent. Amazon Ring has often said that it will not share customer information with the Police without consent, and the ’11 videos shared’ fell under the emergency provision. However, the letter did not specify which videos were shared with the Police.
Senator Markey said that as his ongoing probe into Amazon continues, it is clear that conversing and moving in public without being recorded is becoming more and more difficult. He also criticized the company for not mentioning the distance Ring products can record audio over.
Amazon’s vice-president for public policy, Brian Huseman, responded that Ring ensured that there was danger of death or serious injury to a person. Nevertheless, he added that the company has the right to respond immediately to such requests by law enforcement for information.
There are currently 2,161 law enforcement agencies registered in Ring’s Neighbors app, a facility for residents to share suspicious videos captured by home security cameras.
Users didn’t know about footage sharing
The public’s trust in Police and surveillance tools is not high nowadays for obvious reasons. While federal law permits Amazon to hand over such information to a government agency, there is no obligation.
While some may argue that this is in people’s best interest and to keep them secure, there is no confirmation that law enforcement won’t abuse a system with no oversight.
Many people have raised their worries about how the Police might use Ring footage. Previously, a non-profit group Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that the Los Angeles Police Department had asked Ring for footage of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.