25 Jan 2024, 09:40

Amazon tightens police access to Ring camera video

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 25, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Amazon on Wednesday said it will
stop letting police directly ask people for video from the company's Ring
doorbell or home security cameras.

App updates include getting rid of a "Request for Assistance" feature that
allowed police to request and receive video captured by Ring cameras,
according to a post by Ring executive Eric Kuhn.

Human rights advocates have long opposed the feature, saying it threatens
privacy and exacerbates racial profiling.

"Ring shutting down the red carpet surveillance portal they offered to police
is unquestionably a victory for the coalition of racial justice and human
rights advocates," said Fight for the Future director Evan Greer.

"The ability for law enforcement to use the Neighbors app to mass-request
footage from camera owners was always dangerous."

Ring launched the Neighbors app in 2017, giving people using its home
security cameras a way to share videos of thieves stealing delivered packages
or stray pets passing by.

Last year, people shared "Ring moments" on their social channels more than a
million times, according to Kuhn.

Police and fire officials will still be able to use the Ring's Neighbors app
to share information with users, but will have to use more traditional
channels such as obtaining warrants for video related to investigations.

"They envision a world blanketed in cheap, Amazon-made cameras, where people
are constantly watching each other and sharing the content, whether it's a
'heartwarming moment' or a violent crime," Greer said.

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