Amazon has provided Ring doorbell footage to law enforcement 11 times this year without the user’s permission, a revelation that’s bound to raise more privacy and civil liberty concerns about its video-sharing agreements with police departments across the country. The disclosure came in a letter from the company that was made public Wednesday by US Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who sent a separate letter to Amazon last month questioning Ring’s surveillance practices and engagement with law enforcement, the AP reports.
Ring has said before it will not share customer information with police without consent, a warrant, or due to "an exigent or emergency" circumstance. The 11 videos shared this year fell under the emergency provision, Amazon’s letter said, the first time the company publicly shared such information. The letter, dated July 1, did not say which videos were shared with police. Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president for public policy, wrote in the letter that in each instance, "Ring made a good-faith determination that there was an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to a person requiring disclosure of information without delay." In such cases, Huseman wrote, Ring "reserves the right to respond immediately to urgent law enforcement requests for information."
Some prior requests from law enforcement have raised concerns about how police might be attempting to use Ring footage. Last year, the nonprofit digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation reported the LAPD requested Ring footage of Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. In a statement, Markey’s office said the findings show a close relationship between Ring and law enforcement and a proliferation of police using the platform. Amazon said in its letter that 2,161 law enforcement agencies are enrolled in Ring’s Neighbors app, a forum for residents to share suspicious videos captured by their home security cameras. That number represents a five-fold increase since November 2019, according to the senator’s office.
(Read more Amazon