Amazon Is Coaching Cops on How to Obtain Surveillance Footage Without a Warrant

" When police partner with Ring, Amazon’s home surveillance camera company, they get access to the “Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal,” an interactive map that allows officers to request footage directly from camera owners. Police don’t need a warrant to request this footage, but they do need permission from camera owners.

Emails and documents obtained by Motherboard reveal that people aren’t always willing to provide police with their Ring camera footage. However, Ring works with law enforcement and gives them advice on how to persuade people to give them footage.

Emails obtained from police department in Maywood, NJ—and emails from the police department of Bloomfield, NJ, which were also posted by Wired—show that Ring coaches police on how to obtain footage. The company provides cops with templates for requesting footage, which they do not need a court warrant to do. Ring suggests cops post often on Neighbors, Ring’s free “neighborhood watch” app, where Ring camera owners have the option of sharing their camera footage.

Although Neighbors is a free app, its posts are dominated by video footage captured by Ring cameras. The app is a de facto advertisement for Ring security cameras: it shows users what and who they should be scared of, and it suggests that Ring cameras are the solution to this fear. Neighbors has hired “news editors” to pull 911 call data into the app for real-time, unconfirmed crime alerts, as reported by Gizmodo. As Motherboard reported earlier this year, the app also has a major problem with racial profiling.

Fight for the Future recently called for cities around the country to stop partnering with Ring. The digital rights activist group claims that Ring is creating a dragnet surveillance program in the private sphere, without proper regulatory oversight."

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