AMAZON’s home surveillance company Ring has provided footage to police without the owners’ consent or warrant.
Ring has shared footage of homeowners with law enforcement without their knowledge at least 11 times this year, according to a new report from Politico.
The incidents were detailed in a letter Amazon sent to Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on July 1.
Markey, who questioned Ring’s surveillance practices in June, shared the letter with the public on Wednesday.
In the letter, Amazon said that as part of its policy, Ring “reserves the right to respond promptly to urgent law enforcement requests for information where there is an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to any person.”
Amazon also pointed out that if there is an urgent need to access homeowners’ footage, police must fill out a special “emergency request form.”
In all 11 known cases this year, Brian Huseman, Amazon’s VP of Public Policy, said the police inquiries met the criteria for imminent danger.
Huseman also announced that Ring is currently working with 2,161 police departments and 455 fire departments who can request monitoring data from Ring doorbells.
Given this new information, scrutiny of the doorbell company, which is already facing heavy criticism from lawmakers, is likely to increase.
“As my ongoing investigation by Amazon shows, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to move, gather and entertain 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 web of surveillance systems that Amazon and other powerful tech companies are responsible for,” he added added.
Ring biometric surveillance
Last year, Ring patented 17 new features that worried privacy advocates.
The new features used artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition systems that could identify strangers and perform other tasks that some found dystopian.
Several privacy organizations, including Charity Privacy International, were quick to voice their concerns about this type of biometric identification.
And just months later, Ring’s facial recognition service falsely linked 28 members of Congress to criminal mugshots in 2018, according to Politico.
Meanwhile, in early 2021, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission considered taking Ring to court over alleged privacy and data security violations.
However, the court case was dropped for unknown reasons.
https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5779206/warning-ring-doorbell-users-amazon-police-footage/ Warning for THOUSANDS Ring doorbell users after Amazon provided police footage WITHOUT owner’s permission