Amazon & # 39; s home security company Ring helps police departments effectively request camera images from its customers, police emails obtained by motherboard suggest. The e-mails contain advice such as being more active on social media or speaking during meetings to stimulate a better opt-in rate.
In the past month multiple reports arose over partnerships between US police forces and the Amazon security company, which produces a series of app-controlled cameras for home security. Allegedly more than 200 police forces work together with the company, after which they can request images via an interactive map in the "Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal". Although it is entirely up to the users whether they choose to share their images from security cameras with law enforcement, newly discovered emails suggest that Ring knows how to convince people to offer this footage, and is willing to to share his knowledge as part of his collaborations with police services.
"The agencies with the best opt-in rate are those who actively share on social media, speak community outreach during meetings and spread word of mouth," reads an email from Ring to the Bloomfield Detective Bureau Commander in response to a question about getting more responses to movie requests: “I've noticed you've posted notifications and received feedback from the community. You do a great job dealing with them and this will be crucial with regard to increased opt-in speed. The more users you have, the more useful information you can collect. "
In addition to being more active on social media, a Ring representative has reportedly advised the police to link their Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal request to a public post on Buren, Ring's neighborhood watch app. Ring will also provide police with templates to request images of civilians. In a statement provided to motherboard, a Ring spokesman confirmed this practice, and said the company "will provide police service templates and educational materials to use as they please to help keep their communities informed of their efforts on neighbors."
The police do not need an order to request footage from stake owners, which has led to criticism from activist groups of digital rights who claim that the partnerships lead to an unregulated surveillance network. There is also concern that the partnerships inadvertently lead police departments to promote the sale of ring cameras, encouraging local communities to download the Neighbors app (which motherboard reports is a "de facto ad for Ring"), and becomes more dependent on the surveillance cameras. There have also been reports from city councils subsidizing the costs of ring camera & # 39; sand police services spend them free at neighborhood watch meetings.
In response to the report, a Ring representative said motherboard, “Ring provides neighbor app app training and best practices for placing and using app users for all law enforcement agencies using the portal tool … Ring requests to view press releases and messages prior to distribution to our company and our products and services are accurately displayed. "