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Ring experimented with activating all nearby cameras after a 911 call

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But the project isn’t being pursued anymore

Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Amazon’s Ring was working on a feature that would automatically activate cameras on nearby Ring doorbells so that they would begin recording and streaming video when someone called 911, according to emails seen by CNET. These recordings could, in theory, then be used by law enforcement to help with investigations. This feature doesn’t appear to be something the company is pursuing right now, however, according to a Ring comment provided to CNET.

Ring seemed to be aware of potential privacy concerns around this automatic activation — Ring owners would have had to opt in to allow nearby 911 calls to activate the cameras on their doorbells, according to the emails seen by CNET. But this feature, if it was implemented, could have significantly added to concerns about Ring’s ability to collect data on and potentially surveil citizens.

This year, Ring has come under continued press scrutiny of its partnerships with police and cities, including working with police to help them request security camera footage from customers, and some city governments subsidizing the costs of Ring products for citizens. Ring itself revealed in August that it has partnered with more than 400 law enforcement agencies across the US.