Acquired by Amazon in 2018, Ring has risen to prominence in recent years due to the growing number of property owners looking to secure their homes and apartments electronically. As a result, millions of customers around the world install video cameras in their homes. While this video footage is often used by homeowners to protect their homes, it can also be used by Ring and Amazon to assist ongoing legal investigations.
When installing their home security systems, many customers may not be aware that Ring has partnerships with nearly 2,000 police departments across the United States of America. A 2021 report from the Financial Times found that partnering police departments requested video for more than 22,000 incidents in 2020. Furthermore, disclosure data found that police department’s made nearly 2,000 requests for sensitive video and data from Ring cameras even after the device owner declined the initial request.
To protect their personal space, users can opt out of receiving requests from police. However, this would not stop police from obtaining a court order and heading straight to Ring and Amazon themselves. At this point, users can turn on end-to-end encryption in order to ensure that no one, including Ring, can access their videos.
As the year 2021 moves along, the media outlet, Tech Crunch, hoped to find out “how many users had footage obtained by police.” Unfortunately, Ring declined their request.
“Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Twitter all reveal how many legal demands they receive, but also specify how many users or accounts had data given. In some cases, the number of users or accounts affected can be twice or more than threefold the number of demands they received. Ring’s parent, Amazon, is a rare exception among the big tech giants, which does not break out the specific number of users whose information was turned over to law enforcement,” a report from Tech Crunch reads.
Ring nor Amazon has responded to this report as of yet.