Amazon can give police Ring Home Surveillance Footage without users consent

Kyle Schepperley
Morgan Fitch

Amazon has admitted to sending Ring surveillance footage to police on 11 occasions this year without the permission from its users. The videos were disclosed in cases where "Ring made a good-faith determination that there was an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to a person requiring disclosure of information without delay," said Amazon's vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, in a letter to Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts.

The letter was sent in response to the senator questioning Ring's video surveillance practices last month and their growing relationship with police. Senator Markey has been critical of the surveillance companies partnership with law enforcement and has been looking into it for some time now. 

“As my ongoing investigation into Amazon illustrates, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to move, assemble, and converse in public without being tracked and recorded,” stated Markey. 

Amazon is partnered with 2,161 police departments through an app called Neighbors, where users can post their Ring surveillance footage. Police can then send alerts and request videos by using the same app. 

Ring has defended their partnership with law enforcement by stating cops can only get access to a camera owner's recordings through the user's permission or a court order. But that has been proven to not be the case in 11 instances so far this year. The company claims they do have the right to give your footage to police in “emergencies”. 

Amazon has declined to elaborate on what is considered emergencies in these situations. Ring owners who are worried about access to their cameras, should set up end-to-end encryption, according to Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

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