Amazon Ring: Police partnerships spark outrage from privacy campaign groups

Amazon’s Ring doorbell device has been criticised by digital rights campaign groups over privacy concerns after it was revealed to be sharing videos with law enforcement.

Privacy concerns were raised after a Freedom of Information request made by Motherboard discovered that the company was partnering with over 200 law enforcement agencies to carry out surveillance using the devices.

These partnerships would allow police departments to request people to share videos captured by their Ring doorbell devices, which stream live feeds of their doorstep to homeowners’ smart phones.

Campaign group Fight the Future has launched a petition to scrap the practice, which it says represents a “perfect end-run around the democratic process”.

“These partnerships undermine our democratic process and basic civil liberties – they should be banned,” it added.

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In response, Amazon told the BBC: “Law enforcement can only submit video requests to users in a given area when investigating an active case. Ring facilitates these requests and user consent is required in order for any footage or information to be shared with law enforcement.”

An internal police email from April this year, seen by Gizmodo, states that 225 police departments have partnered with Ring, granting them access to its “Neighbors” portal.

Neighbors is pitched as a community “law enforcement portal” and is one of Ring’s key selling points, allowing residents of local communities to post videos of suspicious activity captured by Ring devices.

Residents can join the Neighbors platform without having a Ring device.

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Apps / MobileNewsSecurity

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