Amazon has shared ring videos with US police 11 times this year alone following an “emergency” request. This was revealed by a US Senator.
In response to an official request from Senator Ed Markey, Amazon stated that in the past seven months alone, US police 11 times have made video material available. What is explosive about it, however, is that this happened without the knowledge or consent of the user and also without a court order. Amazon subsidiary Ring is said to have responded to an emergency request.
Amazon: Data sharing was in response to an emergency request
Responding to a request from Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, Amazon responded in a letter dated July 1 that it was in the year 2017 have handed over private recordings to the police eleven times. The company said it was responding to a “emergency request”. These emergencies occur when there is an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to a person. It is precisely then that Ring reserves the right to share the recordings with the police, even in the absence of a court order or user permission.
Ring gained notoriety primarily for its smart doorbell Ring Video Doorbell, when first company product. This allows homeowners to remotely monitor their front, back and garage doors. There are now even more products like the four smart doorbells. Since the second half of the year 2017, the company has also added two security cameras, Floodlight Cam and Spotlight Cam, to its range, which serve to prevent intrusion.
Although Amazon has a policy that police generally cannot view recordings without the consent of the owner, court orders and emergency requests can override this safeguard. What exactly constitutes an emergency request, however, is left up to Ring itself. Its policy is, by its own admission, to review all requests for assistance from the police and then “determine in good faith whether the request meets known standards based on federal law”.
Concerns Regarding Device Use as Invasion of Privacy
For Senator This practice represents an unacceptable development for Ed Markey:
“As my ongoing investigation by Amazon shows , it has become increasingly difficult for the public to move, congregate and entertain in public without being tracked and recorded. We cannot accept this as inevitable in our country. Law enforcement’s increasing reliance on private surveillance is creating an accountability crisis, and I am particularly concerned that biometric surveillance could become a central part of the growing web of surveillance systems. Amazon and other powerful technology companies are responsible for this.”
Senator Ed Markey added opposite The Intercept from:
“This disclosure is particularly worrying given that the company has previously admitted that there are no policies restricting how law enforcement can use Ring users’ footage. There are also no privacy requirements for law enforcement agencies that hold users’ footage. Also, there are no policies prohibiting law enforcement from keeping Ring users’ footage forever.”
A Ring spokesman defended CNN,
“Companies like Ring are authorized to release information to government agencies when the Company believes that an emergency involving a risk of death or serious personal injury to any person, such as B. a kidnapping or an attempted murder, requires immediate disclosure. Ring applies this legal norm conscientiously. It is simply not true that Ring would allow anyone unrestricted access to customer data or videos, as we have repeatedly made clear to our customers and others.”
Even data protection experts have been alarmed by this practice for a long time. There are concerns that the “doorbells” will capture audio and video well beyond the user’s front door. Police access to this network could massively expand law enforcement’s surveillance network”. This was pointed out by The Hill.
Matthew Guariglia, Policy Analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, also shares his concern:
“There will always be situations where it might make sense for public safety to bypass some of the usual infrastructure and get footage very quickly. But the problem is that the people who decide what urgent circumstances are and what the nature of the emergency is, all these very important security arrangements, are Ring and the police, both of which I understand don’t have a good record when it comes to that to decide when it is appropriate to collect an individual’s information.”