Amazon has admitted to handing over ring doorbell recordings to law enforcement without permission eleven times in the last year. The multinational technology giant has a policy in place that states it will not share footage or audio recordings without the permission of the owner unless a judge has granted a search warrant.
While your Amazon ring doorbell could land you in trouble with the law (opens in new tab) over infringing on neighbors' privacy rights, they have also managed to capture some pretty epic moments such as a tree being struck by lighting (opens in new tab). However, it looks like Amazon has been a little lawless too as US Senator ED Markey discovered that in the last year, Amazon has shared ring doorbell footage with law enforcement without the permission of the doorbell owner.
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Amazon started as an online bookstore but it’s now a multi-billion dollar company that sells its own range of virtual assistants, electronic reading devices and smart doorbells. Its range of Ring doorbells is hugely popular as they feature motion detectors, 2-way speech and a built-in camera for added security - but while the people who purchase them think their data is private, it turns out there are loopholes in the policy.
US Senator Ed Markey has questioned Amazon’s vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman over its relationship with law enforcement and the extent to which it has shared data without the owner's permission. In response to a letter sent to Amazon by Markey, Biran Huseman replied that there have been 11 cases ring has provided video to law enforcement and each time Ring made a good-faith decision that there was imminent danger, death or serious physical injury.
When questioned about Ring-specific internal policies in regard to what constitutes an emergency, Huseman responded, “Emergency disclosure requests must be accompanied by a completed emergency request form. Based on the information provided in am emergency request form and the circumstances described by the officer, Ring makes a good-faith determination whether the request meets the well-known standard, grounded in federal law, that there is imminent danger, death or serious physical injury to any person requiring disclosure of information without delay.”
In 2021, ring sold over 1.4 million doorbells which is more than Nest, SkyBell and ADT combined according to Silicon (opens in new tab). While they do offer additional home security, the ability to see who’s at your front door from anywhere in the world and can even make deliveries easier, it’s worth bearing in mind that they may not be as secure as you think - at least not if law enforcement gets involved.