WTF?! The relationship between Amazon’s Ring division and law enforcement is already a contentious issue, and it’s about to get more controversial. The retail giant has admitted that police can ask users for videos up to 45 days old and 12 hours long, keep them forever, and share them with anyone without providing evidence of a crime.
Back in August, it was revealed that Ring has partnerships with hundreds of US police forces, allowing them access to Ring doorbell and motion camera footage for use in investigations. Amazon stressed that it only shared the clips after a valid and binding legal demand from authorities and that owners can decline the requests, but it hasn’t placated privacy advocates.
The news prompted Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) to write to Amazon, asking for more details on how it protected the privacy of those that appeared in the camera footage.
Markey has released Amazon’s response to his concerns. A letter from its vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, states that when requesting video, police must include a specific case number for the crime they are investigating, but other details or evidence aren’t required. They can also ask for up to 12 hours of content from the last 45 days and for footage within a maximum of 0.5 miles.
It seems Markey wasn’t pleased with the response. “Connected doorbells are well on their way to becoming a mainstay of American households, and the lack of privacy and civil rights protections for innocent residents is nothing short of chilling,” he said.
“If you’re an adult walking your dog or a child playing on the sidewalk, you shouldn’t have to worry that Ring’s products are amassing footage of you and that law enforcement may hold that footage indefinitely or share that footage with any third parties.”