Amazon will start requiring law enforcement to publicly request videos captured by its Ring doorbell security system amid growing criticism of its video-sharing agreements with police departments.
In a blog post on Thursday, Amazon’s Ring unit said police and fire departments will be required to request Ring’s home surveillance videos via public posts on its community safety app, called Neighbors, starting next week.
Currently, Ring allows its law enforcement partners to privately message Ring users to access footage from their devices.
But Ring has been stung by criticism over its once-private agreements letting some 600 law enforcement agencies around the country tap into its Neighbors app. Critics say this opens the door to potential civil liberties violations via quiet and expansive surveillance of ordinary citizens at a time of rising concerns over racial profiling.
“If you’re an adult walking your dog or a child playing on the sidewalk, you shouldn’t have to worry that Ring’s products are amassing footage of you and that law enforcement may hold that footage indefinitely or share that footage with any third parties,” Sen. Ed Markey told the Associated Press in 2019.
Police departments have even reportedly raffled off the devices in some communities