Amazon Doubles Down on Ring Partnerships with Law Enforcement

SophieL

Amazon top executive is “proud” of the controversial program and hinted at a future with more facial recognition.

Ring, a home security company, was accused of arranging secretive deals with hundreds of police departments across the US.

  • Amazon bought Ring in 2018, and is not changing its approach in light of recent civil rights critizations.
  • Top hardware executive David Limp said he’s “proud of that program,” as partnering with the police benefits the neighborhoods. The company is actively trying to get more police and fire departments to join. 
  • Limp suggested a future of Ring cameras using Amazon’s facial recognition technology, which raises another set of concerns.
  • Ring provides law enforcement officials warrantless access to a portal where camera owners can provide footage that may help with criminal investigations. Ring users do not have to provide their recordings, though the portal does not remind customers of this caveat.
  • The recently added Control Center will “enable you to opt out of receiving video requests,” available soon in Ring’s iOS and Android apps.

Ring has been criticized by over 30 civil rights organizations.

  • US Senator Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) explained in a letter that the partnerships “could easily create a surveillance network that places dangerous burdens on people of color and feeds racial anxieties in local communities.”
  • Privacy advocates, including ACLU chapters, argued that these partnerships create a new surveillance infrastructure that lacks oversights.
  • Critics express concerns about the impact on the rights of marginalized communities.

Read the full report.

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