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Ring Doorbells To Stop Police Access To Camera Footage

Amazon-owned Ring will stop allowing police departments to request doorbell camera footage from users, marking an end to a feature that has drawn criticism from privacy advocates. In a blog post on Wednesday, Ring said it will sunset the “Request for Assistance” tool, which allows police departments and other public safety agencies to request and receive video captured by the doorbell cameras through Ring’s Neighbors app, the Associated Press reports. The company did not provide a reason for the change, which will be effective this week. Eric Kuhn, the head of Neighbors, said that law enforcement agencies will still be able to make public posts in the Neighbors app. Police and other agencies can still use the app to “share helpful safety tips, updates, and community events,” Kuhn said.

The update is the latest restriction Ring has made to police activity on the Neighbors app after concerns raised by privacy watchdogs about the company’s relationship with police departments. Critics have stressed the proliferation of these relationships – and users’ ability to report what they see as suspicious behavior - can change neighborhoods into a place of constant surveillance and lead to more instances of racial profiling. In a bid to increase transparency, Ring changed its policy in 2021 to make police requests publicly visible through its Neighbors app. Previously, law enforcement agencies were able to send Ring owners who lived near an area of an active investigation private emails requesting video footage.


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