Amazon Admits Ring Gives Cops Images Without Customers’ Knowledge or Consent
Amazon admitted its Ring security cameras sent recordings to police without the knowledge or consent of the persons who own the cameras.
Responding to an inquiry by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Amazon said in a letter dated July 1 that it turned over private records to police 11 times in 2022. The company said it was in compliance to an “emergency request”. ”
“In each case, Ring has determined in good faith that there is an imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm to a person requiring the disclosure of information without delay,” the company said in its statement to Markey.
Ring cameras and how Amazon coordinates with law enforcement have long been a concern. In 2020, Mashable’s Jess Joho wrote that Ring was “one cop”, with over 1,189 local police and fire departments joining Ring’s Neighbors Portal program that year alone. In response to Markey, Amazon reported that there are now 2,161 law enforcement agencies on its Neighbors Public Safety Service, which allows law enforcement to request images from Ring users. So even in non-emergency cases, there’s a good chance the cops can get footage from Amazon.
Amazon’s Ring worked with more cops than ever before in 2020
“As my ongoing investigation of Amazon illustrates, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to move around, congregate and converse in public without being tracked and recorded,” Markey said in a statement. “We cannot accept this as inevitable in our country. Law enforcement’s increasing reliance on private surveillance is creating an accountability crisis, and I am particularly concerned that biometric surveillance could become a central part of the growing network of surveillance systems that Amazon and other powerful tech companies are responsible for.”
In the letter to Markey, Amazon would not commit to never using voice recognition technology, nor would it commit to stopping the practice of automatically recording audio when taking video footage. Ring, for its part, said it doesn’t just randomly transmit data.
“It is simply wrong that Ring gives anyone unrestricted access to customer data or video, as we have repeatedly made clear to our customers and others,” the company told CNN.