What’s the story?
Data is the name of the game and Ring is working with police to convince citizens to not only buy the device, but also sign up to its neighbourhood watch app. In exchange, police get access to your Ring video footage (should you agree to it). There’s even a script Amazon is providing to police to help them shill the cameras to citizens.
I can’t believe it has taken this long for someone to figure out how to monetise policing.
So the police can login and watch my front porch when they want?
No. If the police want to see footage from your Ring camera they have to get your permission first. That said, they can request the footage directly from Amazon if it has been uploaded to the cloud and the request is sent within 60 days of recording – even if you deny police access to that footage. Separately, Amazon is training police on how to talk citizens into handing over footage, as Motherboard reports.
“Emails obtained from police department in Maywood, NJ—and emails from the police department of Bloomfield, NJ, which were also posted by Wired—show that Ring coaches police on how to obtain footage. The company provides cops with templates for requesting footage, which they do not need a court warrant to do. Ring suggests cops post often on Neighbors, Ring’s free “neighborhood watch” app, where Ring camera owners have the option of sharing their camera footage.”
How does it affect me?
If you’re a Ring owner living in the district of one of the 225 police departments that Amazon is working with, then you may be asked to share your Ring footage when the police need it. If you use Ring’s neighbourhood watch app – or you’re active on social media about what’s happening in your area – then you might see police popping up in your feeds as they chase that #engagement.
“Motherboard has also reported that Neighbors, Ring’s free “neighborhood watch” app, has an issue with racial profiling. The app allows people to post about “Suspicious” people or “Strangers” in their community. When Motherboard documented every post on the app for three months in a 5-mile radius from our Williamsburg office, Motherboard found that the targets of these posts are usually people of color. Unlike the Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal, which is available only to police, Neighbors is available to the general public.”