Amazon has acknowledged that it provides footage from its Ring doorbell cameras to law enforcement without owners’ permission, saying it has done so nearly a dozen times this year, but only in the event of ‘emergencies.’
Amazon stated that it has provided video to the police eleven times in 2021 in a written letter to Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. The lawmaker published the statement on Wednesday. “a good-faith determination that there was an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to a person requiring disclosure of information without delay.”
Though the company has maintained a policy allowing for such sharing without owners’ consent, the letter is the first time Amazon has admitted to doing so.
In light of this disclosure, the senator was harshly critical of the retailer giant raising questions about “law enforcement reliance on private surveillance,”He said that this would result in the creation of a new kind of community. “a crisis of accountability.”
“I am particularly concerned that biometric surveillance could become central to the growing web of surveillance systems that Amazon and other powerful tech companies are responsible for,”He added that he would continue to swear. “continue to exercise oversight of these harmful corporate practices.”
Amazon reported that there was a fivefold increase in police partnerships with Ring since 2019. 2,161 law enforcement agencies are now part of a footage sharing program. Markey claimed that Amazon had already committed to hiring health department staff and other organizations to tackle issues like homelessness, addiction, and mental illness. But Amazon stated it was still not ready to go beyond the fire and police departments.
In the past, the company was criticised for close ties with police departments and its facial recognition technology, which was also criticized by the ACLU. “primed for abuse in the hands of governments.”Amazon placed a moratorium in 2020 on the use of its facial detection software by law enforcement. It later extended that ban until further notice.
Amazon insists on releasing a statement for Politico “it’s simply untrue that Ring gives anyone unfettered access to customer data or video,”This footage should only be shared if it is vital to the survival of someone. “serious physical injury.”
Markey, along with other members of Congress, continue to raise alarms about the technology and introduce bills that would address it. “prohibit use of biometric technology by federal agencies”If they refuse to give up facial recognition technology, we will restrict state funding.
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