Amazon has admitted providing police with recordings from its Ring cameras and doorbells without the consent of the owners of those products.
It was an American senator, Ed Markey, who raised the hare. In conducting his investigation into the surveillance of his fellow citizens facilitated by technology, he obtained from Amazon a very clear answer: yes, the company provided law enforcement with images from its connected Ring doorbells, without the owners have given their consent.
This has been the case 11 times since the beginning of the year. The company said it was complying with “emergency requests”. Each time, Ring determined ” in good faith “that there was an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury, thus requiring the disclosure of information” without delay “.
There are 2,161 police and fire organizations today that are enrolled in the Neighbors Public Safety Service program, which allows them to request recordings from Ring devices. Even if it is not an emergency, there are still chances that the police can obtain videos without the consent of the user.
Amazon adds that it cannot commit to never using voice recognition technology in its products, nor can the company commit to stopping the practice of automatically recording audio by same time as the video. Ring denies giving access to its customers’ data or videos to anyone.
Ed Markey deplores the growing reliance of law enforcement on private surveillance. For the senator, it is a ” responsibility crisis “. He also said he was very concerned that biometric surveillance could become a central element in the surveillance networks set up by Amazon and other manufacturers.