For immediate release: February 29, 2024


Today, 25 key advocates against abusive surveillance and data practices released a letter urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the dangers Amazon’s unregulated Ring surveillance and data collection network poses to bystanders, delivery drivers, and the public at large. Signers of the letter include organizations who advocate for racial justice, privacy, and antitrust reform, including Fight for the Future, Athena Coalition, MediaJustice, Center on Race and Digital Justice, and Public Citizen.

This letter comes on the heels of Amazon announcing its plan to end its Ring surveillance partnerships with police. While Amazon’s decision addressed civil rights groups concerns about police departments having direct access to user footage, it did nothing to mitigate the threat Ring’s surveillance network poses to communities.

Organizations expand on these threats in the letter: “Ring owners unwittingly collect troves of lucrative data sets for Amazon, allowing them to own limitless amounts of personal data about everyone surveilled—including where they go and what they do. Additionally, in capturing peoples’ likeness, Amazon gains access to biometric data that is biologically unique to each person. Amazon may use this data for its own commercial purposes, such as developing applications for policing or intrusive targeted advertisements, and could even share this data with third parties. The tech giant’s unrestricted dominion over this highly sensitive information exposes the public at large to continuous privacy violations, data abuse, and unwarranted criminalization.”

The letter goes on to point out that “there is little people can reasonably do to avoid these harms. Amazon’s network of Ring devices is ubiquitous and uses methods of data collection that defy traditional notions of privacy. Individuals are subjected to being filmed while going about their daily lives.”

The letter is signed by Fight for the Future, Access Now, Accountable Tech, Aspiration, Athena Coalition, Center on Race and Digital Justice, Community Justice Exchange, Constitutional Alliance, For the Many, Free Press, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Just Futures Law, Kairos Action, Main Street Alliance, May First Movement Technology, MediaJustice, Open MIC, Progressive Technology Project, Public Citizen,, Surveillance Resistance Lab, Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry, United We Dream, WA People’s Privacy and Woodhull Freedom Foundation. Click here to read the full letter.

Organizations issued the following statements:

Fight for the Future issued the following statement, please attribute it to the Director of Fight for the Future, Evan Greer (she/her/they): “Amazon’s Ring surveillance network is so powerful and ubiquitous that even if you don’t own any of its devices, it can still mess up your life. Big Brother Amazon is capturing literally everyone with its surveillance dragnet—bystanders, delivery drivers, even kids—in many cases without any knowledge or consent. And the personal information it collects, like where you go, what you do, and your biometric likeness, can be sold or shared with data brokers, leaked in a data breach, and generally used against you. 

Meanwhile, Amazon is rewarding racists through its Neighbors app—gamifying the criminalization of people of color. Anti-choice zealots can also use Amazon’s surveillance empire to film and snitch on abortion seekers, abortion providers, and their loved ones. Every time someone installs a Ring camera, the potential harm to the public at large increases dramatically.

It was really great to see the FTC sue Amazon for violating users’ privacy and lax security practices. But they need to go further. The only way to protect the public from Amazon’s surveillance is to investigate the harms posed and then take immediate action to stop them. Until the FTC takes meaningful action, other surveillance-driven, data-collecting corporations are being sent the message that it’s okay to exploit our personal lives and misuse our data in ways that are dangerous and life-altering.”  

Athena Coalition issued the following statement, please attribute it to the Interim Director of the Athena Coalition, Ryan Gerety (she/her): “Amazon has built an unprecedented, expansive civilian surveillance empire by peddling millions of Ring doorbell cameras that record public spaces like sidewalks and roads without consent or knowledge from passersby. While selling Ring cameras under the guise of keeping neighborhoods safe, Amazon has been allowed to watch, record, share, and sell video footage of our communities across the country without accountability.

We urge the Federal Trade Commission to fulfill its mandate to protect consumers and the public by investigating the Amazon Ring – a threat to our liberties and rights in lock step with Amazon’s efforts to amass more power in our economy and democracy.”