News hardware Amazon Ring: Police Accessed Camera Footage Without Owner’s Consent
Amazon is in bad shape in a US court case. Indeed, the online sales site admitted to having provided the police with images filmed by its surveillance cameras, without the agreement of their owners. A confession that raises questions.
Amazon is not just an e-tailer that merely sells tens of millions of products to Internet users around the world. Indeed, the platform has been developing its own ranges of items for a long time, particularly in the high-tech field. If you are familiar with Echo connected speakers, Amazon also stands out in the field of home security with its Ring products.
In its rays, the site offers connected surveillance cameras, but also smart doorbells, equipped with a camera to film the doorstep in real time. If this allows users to know who is in front of their home, recorded videos can also be useful in the event of an intrusion. Only, Amazon has just made a confession in the United States which has a little trouble getting through.
Yes, Amazon transmits filmed data to the police
Very interested in the issue of surveillance of Americans through technology, Senator Ed Markey conducted the Amazon investigationto find out what the e-commerce giant was likely to do with the videos recorded by its cameras. And the answer given does not please everyone.
Indeed, Amazon admits that, in “urgent requests” made by the police, she had transmitted videos to the authorities without having asked the agreement of the owners of the cameras or doorbells. A situation arisen 11 times since the beginning of 2022 in the United States.
A collaboration justified by the investigations
Amazon defends itself explaining that each time, the case represented a danger of death or serious physical injury. Each case is studied in order to determine the “good faith” of the investigation. It can therefore be estimated that Amazon helps to advance police investigations with information that can be essential.
But for Ed Markey, the heart of the problem is that the police can obtain private data on simple request from Amazonwithout even having a mandate. “The request for this information should go through the same legal process as any other search of private property carried out in our country. This cannot be an exception based on the fact that the information is available”, esteem the senator. “The police should have a warrant to recover this data. A judge can issue an emergency warrant if necessary. »
A worrying Amazon drift
Still for Ed Markey, this situation, easily admitted by Amazon, raises serious questions for the future. “My fear is that we will turn into a surveillance society, and everyone will be forced to simply accept that. It is likely to become more and more difficult for the public to move around, to gather, to discuss in public without being followed and recorded. »
For its part, Amazon adds that it is impossible for it to commit to no longer sharing its data with the authorities in the context of police investigations.. The company says it’s also not possible to disable audio recording when its cameras are filming. On the other hand, the cybermerchant repeats it, it checks each time the request of the police, to ensure that it is legitimate. Not sure that’s enough to convince privacy advocates.