Ring Doorbell To Stop Giving Video To Law Enforcement

The top video doorbell provider, Ring, has stated that it would no longer provide direct access to consumer footage to law enforcement.

Neighbors is an app that is a companion to Amazon’s Ring video doorbells and security cameras. It lets users share and upload footage from their devices.

According to the business, neighbors increase security and promote belonging to a neighborhood. The Request for Assistance feature, which Ring debuted in 2021, lets authorities ask users for video or information. According to Ring, consumers are in complete charge of their data, and it is not shared with any third parties unless the user permits it.

Ring is responsible for sunsetting the Request for Assistance (RFA) tool. Fire and police departments, among others, can continue to utilize the Neighbors app to disseminate neighborhood events, safety advice, and updates; however, the RFA feature, which allows them to request and receive video within the app, is now unavailable. Because of this ruling, police agencies might view customers’ Ring footage without a warrant, which could severely affect civil rights.

Ring has established a strong partnership with law enforcement. The company has provided police agencies in large cities like Akron, Ohio, and El Monte, California, with free doorbell cameras, and in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, it has launched a cloud-based doorbell camera registry. Although the RFA program and Amazon’s Law Enforcement Request tool are distinct, the decision to end the program sends a positive message that warrants will be needed more frequently for police to view private footage.

Matthew Guariglia of the Electronic Frontier Foundation suggests a few things that Ring users who are worried about police overreach can do: enable end-to-end encryption on their devices, be careful with the direction your camera is facing and the audio and video it may capture from you, your loved ones, and your neighbors; and ask the police to obtain a warrant before asking for your footage.