Last week, Amazon admitted that their controversial Ring cameras provide footage to law enforcement without a warrant or user consent—and that police have already used this backdoor to obtain private video 11 times this year.
This extremely troubling breach of user trust and privacy adds to a myriad of concerns surrounding Amazon’s close relationship with law enforcement. For several years, Fight for the Future has been sounding the alarm about Ring because their devices are risky for consumers, fuel discriminatory surveillance policing, and exacerbate racism in communities.
Even though Ring devices cause broad social harm, tech review sites like Wirecutter, CNET, and Consumer Reports still recommend these flawed devices—likely fueling thousands of device sales. A public pressure campaign led by Fight by the Future and 20+ other civil society groups (RescindRing.com) led Wirecutter to pause their recommendation in 2020, but they have reneged on this commitment: Ring’s wired doorbell is currently the “Budget Pick” for The Best Smart Doorbell Camera.
“Amazon has repeatedly lied about its dangerous relationships with the cops, and tech blogs keep swallowing their empty assurances hook, line, and sinker,” said Evan Greer (she/her), Fight for the Future’s Director. “Ring’s massive network and its 2,000+ police partnerships make it uniquely dangerous for users and communities. Wirecutter wouldn’t link out to keyloggers or gun silencers, but they mindlessly advertise products that fuel dragnet surveillance and racist policing. We reaffirm our call for all tech reviewers to rescind their recommendations of Ring devices and evaluate all technology with an eye towards total harm.”