Amazon’s Ring Home Camera System Is Largest Civilian Surveillance Network US Has Ever Seen

Ring Doorbell video camera, Wiki
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One in 10 US police departments can now access videos from millions of privately owned home security cameras without a warrant. Once Ring Doorbell camera users agree to release video content to law enforcement, there is no way to revoke access and few limitations on how that content can be used, stored, and with whom it can be shared. The cameras are always on. Amazon bought Ring in 2018, and has more than 1,800 partnerships with local law enforcement agencies that can request recorded video content from Ring users without a warrant, circumventing the Fourth Amendment. Ring creates a giant database that allows the government to analyze our every move, whether or not a crime is being committed. Amazon’s yearly sales of Ring are estimated in the hundreds of millions.

What’s the story?

A series of reports from MotherboardWired and Gizmodo have revealed that Amazon’s Ring video doorbell is working with a number of police departments.

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.”

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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. 

As we’ve seen with facial recognition, if you’re a person of colour, this type of shiny gadget surveillance can have a much more sinister edge Motherboard reports

“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.”

Read full article here…

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11 months ago

Simpli-Safe, thank you very much.