According to recent reports, the company was to give police a digital map of places with Ring solutions installed, which allow them to record their surroundings and. unplanned identification of their owners.
The controversy around Amazon’s acquisition last year, the Ring brand of home security and other smart solutions, which ended up in the giant’s hands for between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion, continues unabated. The company continues to be accused of using its devices for surveillance rather than security, and those accusations came to a head in late August when it was reported that Amazon was going to give police access to footage recorded by cameras mounted on Ring devices. It quickly became apparent that cooperation with the police was a fact, except that the company’s explanation was that it was acting within the law, under strict rules.
This means that the recordings will be available to the services only after a legal and justified request. Moments later, we learned that Ring has already signed appropriate agreements to share videos with more than 400 police departments across the United States. It’s all part of what’s known as the new Neighbors Watch, where police can make requests for video recorded by Ring devices at a specific time and place when they need help with an investigation – there’s no live video access involved, and users are supposed to be notified every time the service accesses the Neighbors Portal via a dedicated app.
Do you think that’s it? Nothing could be further from the truth, as another interesting piece of information has just reached us, namely Ring has reportedly provided the police with a digital map containing the exact location of every device the company has equipped with a recording system. So once again, doubts have arisen as to who this monitoring is really for – the users, or perhaps the services that don’t have to worry about mounting special cameras? And while the police will still need to get permission to use these recordings, thanks to Amazon they now know exactly which doors to knock on.
Because while Ring asserted that the relevant map only shows the density of Ring devices in a given area, CNET’s site just proved that zooming in on it properly gives a pretty specific location, especially in less dense areas. Of course, the company denies that it has shared any specific data with the police and, in fact, is not being untruthful at all, only that it has not made sure enough that, with the right tools, the data cannot be accidentally extracted from it. In short, this is yet another time when the company proves that customer privacy is not a priority for it.