Ring doorbell users were warned about the disclosure that Amazon’s home-surveillance company sent footage to police officers without their consent or warrants.
Ring has shared homeowner’s footage without their knowledge with law enforcement at least eleven times this year. ReportPolitico has discovered.
The incidents were described in a letter Amazon sent to Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) July 1.
Markey, who questioned Ring’s surveillance practices in June, shared the letter with the public on Wednesday.
Amazon wrote in the letter that Ring was not allowed under its policies. “reserves the right to respond immediately to urgent law enforcement requests for information in cases involving imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to any person.”
Amazon noted that special forms are required for police to complete. “emergency request form”If there is an immediate need for homeowners’ footage.
In all of the 11 known cases this year, Amazon’s VP of Public Policy Brian Huseman said that police requests met the imminent-danger criteria.
Huseman also disclosed that Ring is currently in partnership with 2,161 police departments and 455 firefighters departments, which can request surveillance data directly from Ring doorbells.
In light of this new information, scrutiny of the doorbell company – which is already facing major criticism from lawmakers – will likely increase.
“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 made the statement in a statement.
“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,”He concluded.
Ring’s biometric surveillance
Ring has patented 17 new features which were a concern to privacy activists last year.
The new features employed artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition systems that could identify strangers and perform other tasks that some found dystopian.
Charity Privacy International was one of the many privacy organizations that raised concerns about this biometric recognition.
And just months later, Ring’s facial recognition service falsely associated 28 members of Congress with criminal mugshots in 2018, per Politico.
In the meantime, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission considered taking Ring to court in 2021 for alleged data security and privacy violations.
The legal proceedings were suspended due to unspecified reasons.