Amazon Video Doorbell Company Ring Released Footage to Police Without Owner Consent 11 Times This Year
“As my ongoing investigation into Amazon illustrates, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to move, assemble, and converse in public without being tracked and recorded,” Senator Markey said in a press release.
Amazon’s video doorbell company, Ring, has revealed footage from the device to have been given to police without the owner’s consent at least 11 times this year.
This information was disclosed in a letter Amazon’s Vice President of Public Policy Brian Huseman wrote to Democratic Senator Ed. Markey of Massachusetts in response to the senator’s June 14 letter questioning Ring’s surveillance practices.
“In each instance, Ring made a good-faith determination that there was an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to a person requiring disclosure of information without delay,” Amazon’s letter wrote.
Amazon did not provide information as to what videos were sent to the police.
“As my ongoing investigation into Amazon illustrates, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to move, assemble, and converse in public without being tracked and recorded,” Markey said in a press release Wednesday.
Amazon’s letter states that under Ring’s law enforcement policies, Ring “reserves the right to respond immediately to urgent law enforcement requests for information involving imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to any person. It also states that requests for information must include a completed “emergency request form.”
Huseman’s letter said that Ring is partnered with 2,161 law enforcement agencies and 455 fire departments and is continuing to add more. Markey’s press release states that the number of partnered law enforcement agencies represents a “more than five-fold increase.”
Through Amazon's agreement with law enforcement, Ring owners are notified and asked to submit recordings from a certain time period so that police may view them, according to Politico. Motion detection can be used to trigger the doorbells, which can record audio up to 30 feet away, according to a test from Consumer Reports, making them useful to police, Politico reported.
Ring spokesperson told Newsweek "it's simply untrue that Ring gives anyone unfettered access to customer data or video, as we have repeatedly made clear to our customers and others.”
"We cannot accept this as inevitable in our country. Increasing law enforcement reliance on private surveillance creates a crisis of accountability, and I am particularly concerned that biometric surveillance could become central to the growing web of surveillance systems that Amazon and other powerful tech companies are responsible for," Markey said in the release.
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