Congress asks Ring to provide answers to police partnerships – CNET

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Congress wants documents from Ring on all of its police partnerships.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Congress is knocking on Amazon with questions about its video doorbell company Ring and the hundreds of police partnerships Ring has built over the past two years.

In a letter from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Wednesday, Amazon lawmakers are asking for responses to Ring's partnerships with governments and police agencies, as well as Ring's guidelines on collected data.

"The subcommittee is looking for more information on why cities and law enforcement agencies are making these agreements," said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the subcommittee on economic and consumer policy, in the letter. "The answer seems to be that Ring gives them access to a much more comprehensive surveillance system than they could build, and Ring gives law enforcement officers access to a network of surveillance cameras on a private basis, without taxpayers buying and paying Have installation and monitor these cameras. "

Ring has teamed up with more than 900 police stations in the USA since 2018, afterwards Amazon bought the video doorbell company, These partnerships have alarmed both lawmakers and data protection advocates, who fear that the technology giant is one Surveillance network in residential areas,

Details of the partnerships are often rare, as Ring expressly informs the police partners not to share details of how the surveillance works with the public, Investigations by CNET have shown that Ring provided the police Almost exact positions of the ring owners on maps and that it told police chiefs that it wanted to Use 911 calls to automatically activate video cameras,

In recent weeks, Ring has taken steps to respond to these privacy concerns, and a Control center to refuse to receive police requestsAlthough the lawmaker stated in the letter that this does not prevent police authorities from receiving a video of people's doorbells with an arrest warrant.

Ring said he was reviewing the letter and intending to respond.

Although Ring announces when a new police partner will be released, the company does not provide details on how these agreements work or how the police use the technology. The letter asked Brian Huseman, Vice President of Public Policy at Amazon, for answers until March 4.

The subcommittee requests documents on the following topics:

  • All Ring agreements with cities and law enforcement agencies.
  • If these agencies also pay for Amazon's recognition face recognition technology.
  • Any case where a partner police requested video footage.
  • All third-party partners with whom Ring shared footage and personal information.
  • All sources for Ring computerized shipping information.
  • Integration of face recognition in ring video doorbells.
  • Ring’s privacy and privacy policy in Ring videos.
  • Ring employees have unauthorized access to video material.
  • Ring's research on privacy and racial profiling.
  • Customer complaints about Ring's vulnerabilities.

The Subcommittee asks Amazon until February 27th for information about Ring's privacy and security measures.

You can read the full letter here:

Originally published on February 19, 9:45 p.m. PT.
Update, 9:58 a.m .: Adds an answer from Ring.