It’s been reported recently that more than 400 police departments in the United States have formed video-sharing partnerships with the Amazon owned doorbell-camera company, Ring. Granting the police departments possible access to ring customers camera footage is a key part of the company’s latest initiative to create a ‘new neighbourhood watch’.
Ring was purchased by Amazon in 2018 for $800 million.
Ring has said that the partnered police departments don’t receive access to live video. Officers have to submit a request for captured video by specifying the area and time period from any of the company’s millions of connected cameras in the United States. Ring also confirmed that officers don’t receive ongoing access to a camera that they were originally supplied footage from.
Reportedly, homeowners are sent an email from Ring where they are able to decline the requests.
The vast camera network is portrayed by Ring officials and their law enforcement partners as an irrepressible shield for neighbourhoods, stating that it can protect homes and assist police investigations. However, the number of police department deals and rapid growth of the program has fuelled wider questions surrounding mass surveillance, privacy concerns and the ever-evolving relationship between tech giants and local authorities.
The inventor of Ring, Jamie Siminoff, says that ‘customers, their privacy, and the security of their information is at the top of our priority list. We know that our customers place a huge amount of trust in us and we have every intention of continuing to earn that trust.’