Ring doorbell cameras raise privacy concerns

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Ring doorbell cameras raise privacy concerns
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Ring doorbell cameras raise privacy concerns
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Privacy advocates are raising the alarm on Ring, an Amazon-owned company that produces doorbell cameras. The concerns stem from Ring’s recent partnership with more than 400 law enforcement agencies. The company does not alert customers when their security footage has been subpoenaed by authorities, even if the customer previously declined to provide law enforcement with the video.

“By sending photos and alerts every time the camera detects motion or someone rings the doorbell, the app can create an illusion of a household under siege,” privacy advocate Matthew Guariglia of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told USA Today. “This raises the question: Do you really need Ring, or have Amazon and the police misled you into thinking that you do?”

Amazon and Ring faced significant backlash for their response to the controversy, with many accusing the company of attempting to deceive their customers. “Recent coverage of the Neighbors program is misleading,” the company responded on Twitter. “We want to set the record straight—you are in control of your videos. They are only shared if you post them or provide consent. Police go through Ring when making a request, and you can decline.”

However, as critics have noted, Ring’s comments in response to the situation were not accurate. User videos can be accessed by law enforcement, even if the customer declines. Perhaps more troubling, customers are not alerted by the company when their videos have been subpoenaed by law enforcement.

The situation also raises serious Fifth Amendment concerns. It seems likely that authorities could use a customer’s video surveillance to potentially incriminate the user. Some have even suggested that the doorbell cameras have already been used by authorities to pursue criminal investigations of Ring’s customers.

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