Controversial Ring police partnerships add to growing privacy and civil liberties concerns surrounding Amazon products
Tomorrow, Amazon will hold their annual product launch amid growing concerns about the company’s internal privacy practices, as well as controversial surveillance partnerships between Amazon Ring and local police departments.
Evan Greer, deputy director of digital rights group Fight for the Future, issued the following statement: "Every year Amazon releases new products with surveillance features that record our voices, scan our faces, and harvest our personal information. This is not progress. This not innovation. This is Amazon’s continued effort to build a for-profit, surveillance dragnet without oversight and accountability, and bone-graft itself to the US government because it envisions a future where its monopoly status is impossible to challenge, inextricable from authoritarian structures."
Amazon-Ring has entered into partnerships with police departments in over 400 cities, most of the were entered into without any debate or approval from local elected officials or the community. These partnerships provide an end run around the democratic process and pose serious privacy and civil liberties threats. Amazon gives police a warrantless process for requesting and storing unlimited footage, giving them a literal eye inside residents’ homes and the surrounding area, and in exchange, the police department markets Amazon’s surveillance technology. US Senator Ed Markey sent a letter to Jeff Bezos asking questions about the partnerships, and even The Monitoring Association, a security industry trade association, issued a statement expressing concern.
Fight for the Future has launched a national campaign calling on local elected officials to cancel police departments’ existing partnerships with Amazon Ring and enact policies to prevent them from doing so in the future.