I'm a police officer, and I attended a presentation that Ring reps came and gave to my department when they launched their Law Enforcement Portal.
This title is very misleading. The LE portal only serves as a conduit to link investigators with consenting citizens that want to assist with relevant video. The police have no control over the cameras or the footage they capture.
The way it works...the investigating department can input a location of an incident (say...a burglary) on a map in the Ring portal. They can then assign a date/time range. The Ring LE portal will then inform the investigator that there are X number of registered cameras within X size geographical radius of the incident, but does not give specifics as to where the cameras actually are. It then has a button to mass-contact those registered users and request assistance with videos from that date/time range. Each user will get an alert and has an option to do one of two things: 1) Allow the agency access to all stored video clips from that date/time range to review for themselves, or 2) Allows the user to review their own video clips from that date/time range and then flag clips they believe might be relevant to give the agency access to.
It's no different than what we've been doing for decades...driving around where an incident happened, looking for security cameras, and then knocking on doors to ask if the owner would allow us to review their video.
The same planet where major companies currently tell us in law enforcement to go fuck ourselves on a daily basis in regards to subpoenas. Short of it being a Federal warrant or subpoena (ala Congress, FBI, DHS), large companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc. rarely (if ever) respond to subpoenas from courts outside of the jurisdiction where their company HQ is. As a municipal officer in a different state, me sending a subpoena to Amazon HQ may as well involve me lighting the subpoena on fire too. The process of getting it converted to a local warrant in the company’s local court system and getting it enforced/served by local law enforcement is difficult and impractical for most investigations. In the end, there are no consequences for the company ignoring my out-of-jurisdiction subpoena so they don’t respond.
I’m so very happy to see this. The last thing we as a country need is more surveillance powers handed over to law enforcement. Between the massively illegal use of stingrays clearly continuing, and the god awful way police departments around the country handle shootings and just the general evil of government im delighted to hear it.
That's *you*. But this does and is happening. For instance, you know those sites you can send your DNA to, to check your genetic heritage?
[>Have police ever used ancestry DNA](https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usatoday.com/amp/557263002) in past cases?
>In 2014, a New Orleans filmmaker was identified in an Idaho murder based on a DNA sample that his father had given years earlier as part of a church-sponsored genealogy project. The father's DNA was sold to Ancestry.com, and he was identified to police after Ancestry received a court order. The suspect was later cleared after his DNA didn't match evidence at the crime scene.
There is literally nothing stopping this ring service being subject to the same use. Apart from a little time and effort.
> Yes, and that expectation is fulfilled. The police can only access Ring recordings if the property owner hands them over. Same as traditional CCTV systems in homes and businesses.
As long as we all agree that law enforcement should not be able to come to you with a valid warrant signed by a federal judge demanding access to the footage.
Or, to be pedantic:
- law enforcement **can** come to you with a valid warrant signed by a federal judge
- and i **am** allowed to tell them to go fuck themselves with a god-damned rake
If they have a warrant, you can't really tell them to shove it without going to court and disputing the legitimacy of the warrant.
If they **don't** have a warrant, then you can absolutely tell them to shove it.
Again, there is no expectation of privacy for anything that can be seen from the street. If the neighbor across the street has a Ring doorbell that can see your house in the background, that's no different from those neighbors having a traditional non-cloud-connected CCTV camera mounted on their house.
The cops (or anyone) could even just come park in front of your house and stake it out. What can be seen from the street is public.
If your neighbors are mounting cameras pointing into your backyard, that's a different story. But the street is public.
I don't see any significant difference. The police need approval from the property owner to see the footage. It's effectively the same as knocking on doors and asking nicely.
In fact, I would argue that it's even preferable. A random citizen might feel more pressured by a cop at their door to give them video than if they get a notification on their phone from a cop who doesn't even know who they are or where they live, which can be easily declined.
Most of those conspiracy theorists realized that this would happen, that the proliferation of cameras integrated inside other tech products would make any dragnet surveillance program extremely dangerous. But back then it was about laptop cameras and CCTV setups, then phones on cameras. My point is that this is nothing new, it's entirely expected and is why people were worried about the growth of mass surveillance under Bush 2 and Obama.
Actual article: Amazon/Ring are resisting police efforts to force users to turn over their footage
"Ring does not support programs that require recipients to subscribe to a recording plan or that footage from Ring devices be shared as a condition for receiving a donated device. We are actively working with partners to ensure this is reflected in their programs."
Maybe you’ve misinterpreted the headline? It just says that there are many cameras in the network and these can be used to help the police. The footage from the network is shared with the police by the users.
As with any technology, it can be a two sided sword.
There was that story recently of the fake DEA agents in Pearland, TX (video: https://youtu.be/F3gkSCwXREM ),.. we’d never have that footage if it wasnt for doorbell security cams.
I follow a lot of Twitter, NextDoor, Ring, etc feeds to stay aware of whats going on in my neighborhood. I find them very useful.
I'll be pissed if this a opt out program as opposed to opt in. Companies abuse opt outs for "consent" while governments refuses to use them to literally save lives. You are certainly not legally liable and very unlikely to be held socially liable.
Legally they could've requested permission from you, few vacations are phone free nowadays, or gotten a warrant to forcibly get the data. (Or more realistically the company holding the recording gives it at any police request due to fear of bad PR, phone companies already do this).
Socially no one would know you had a useful recording unless you yourself watched it first or the police leaked it after a later legal request. Anything that leads to you being socially liable for it gives you grounds to sue for a combination of defamation and privacy.
I do expect they push some emergency system where areas get their data forcibly autoreported for good PR such as amber alerts and natural disasters. If the company holds "your" data they are going to be trying to get money and good PR out of it anyway they can for better or worse.
Nice to see that Ring is protecting their users, stepping up to not require users to hand over their footage to the police.
Personally, I don't have a problem with being recorded. My problem is the authorities misusing that footage, or obtaining that footage without a warrant. And while I'd like to ideally think that it wouldn't be used wrongly, I know it will.
If you want a laugh download the Neighbors app. People can upload footage from their ring cameras to it. There’s some really paranoid busybodies posting things like “who are these people I see scouting the neighborhood” when it’s just Mormons.
Facial recognition, listener plate readers, lol damn what’s next? It’s gonna be like that movie Minority Report! Billboards and stuff will have cameras and use facial recognition and with all of Google’s/Facebook data gathering it will show u an ad’s that’s most relevant to you.
And best believe that facial recognition will be integrated, hopefully Congress gets a jump ahead and keeps these large companies in check with how they use the information
General question that I’m certain will get downvoted: what exactly are you doing wrong throughout your day that you’re worried about people having cameras on their front doorbell? The article says straight out that Amazon doesn’t support law enforcement giving these things out either reduced or free with strings attached to them. You want to share when they ask? Go for it. You don’t? You don’t have to. Don’t want to protect your home in this way? Don’t get one.
I’ve got ‘em already. World isn’t getting any safer. If Amazon’s saying (and hopefully taking action) that they aren’t for law enforcement having access to these without permission I don’t see the problem.
“Hey, so we are using your tax dollars to buy a video doorbell for you as a gift! Wow! Great right? But really for us and you actually paid for it and we totally don’t have any control over it wink and it’s totally cool.”