More than 30 privacy and consumer advocacy groups are urging local legislators to intervene in doorbell-camera company Ring’s partnerships with law enforcement. In 2018, Amazon-owned Ring announced that it was starting a “new neighborhood watch” effort, to allow homeowners to provide voluntary access to camera footage to officers. In the event of an incident, police can request the video recorded by homeowners’ cameras for a specific geographic area and time range – but homeowners can decline the requests. In August, the Washington Post reported that the effort has been on a rapid growth track, with Ring now partnering with more than 400 police departments across the country. “Amazon Ring partnerships with police departments threaten civil liberties, privacy and civil rights, and exist without oversight or accountability,” reads the letter. “We call on mayors and city councils to require police departments to cancel any and all existing Amazon Ring partnerships, and to pass surveillance oversight ordinances that will deter police departments from entering into such agreements in the future.” Ringing the Police The police requests for Ring footage are made via Neighbors, which is a companion app to Ring that allows users to share footage in the name of reporting local crimes, stolen packages, or suspicious visitors and activity (as well as lost pets). It also integrates official police reports compiled by Neighbors curators in order to lend context. “If anyone shares an…
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