Amazon’s surveillance camera brand Ring has partnered with more than 200 police departments across the country, according to a new report by Motherboard.
The news shows the scope of the relationship
It’s been widely known that Ring has worked with law enforcement: Motherboard recently reported on a contract between the company and a police department, and Amazon has even used footage of suspected thieves to promote the products. But the news highlights the scope of the relationship between the company and police.
Motherboard obtained notes from an officer given a webinar by Ring. According to the notes, Ring lets officers request footage from owners through Ring. While police reportedly need consent from owners, a warrant isn’t required. (Ring said in a statement that any requests from law enforcement must be tied to an active investigation.) The notes say 200 agencies use the system.
Ring emphasized that camera footage can’t be accessed directly by police.
“Every decision we make at Ring centers around privacy, security and user control,” a Ring spokesperson said in a statement. “While Law enforcement partners can submit video requests for 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. Law enforcement cannot see how many Ring users received the request, declined to share or opted-out of all future requests.”
Despite pushback from civil libertarians and some of its own employees, Amazon has taken an interest in working with law enforcement. Apart from Ring, the company also offers a facial recognition product, called Rekognition, which it has provided to local law enforcement and even pitched to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But some researchers have questioned the accuracy of the tool, and several AI experts have urged the company to stop selling it to police.