Amazon Ring and the Cops

In another example of why you shouldn’t trust mega-tech “cloud” companies with your home security, Vice News and GovTech have reported that Amazon is now coaching police how to obtain users’ Ring camera footage without a warrant. If that fails, the cops go directly to Amazon, and the company is more than likely to cooperate.

The money quote from the Vice article:

…police can request Ring camera footage directly from Amazon, even if a Ring customer denies to provide police with the footage. It’s a workaround that allows police to essentially “subpoena” anything captured on Ring cameras

GovTech reports that Amazon purchased Ring last year for $1 billion. The doorbell camera is not only designed to capture the images of visitors at your door, but can be used in conjunction with other devices in the neighborhood as an ad-hoc surveillance network.

Further per GovTech:

Under Ring partnerships, police are provided with a special portal that allows them to communicate with and request video from community residents.

Amazon has created these “partnership networks” with police free of charge in exchange for signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU). These MOU’s are then used to permit Amazon to “ghostwrite” police press releases for cases where Ring has been used – thus turning the cops into a marketing arm of Mr. Bezos, all at the expense of user/customer privacy.

“What we’re talking about is a private company trying to disrupt the public safety infrastructure of this country in the same way that companies have gone into other parts of our society,” said Dave Maass, senior investigative researcher with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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