The number of police forces joining Ring’s partnership program across America more than doubled in 2020, despite there being little evidence that it’s an effective crimefighting device. The rise is sparking major privacy concerns.
Newly released figures indicate that nearly 2,000 police departments across the US are partnered with Amazon’s Ring, in the process expanding the reach of the highly controversial civilian surveillance network yet further.
Ring, bought by the e-commerce giant in February 2018 for a fee that could be as much as US$1.8 billion, is best-known for producing a range of ‘smart’ doorbells, which house high-definition cameras, motion sensors, microphones, and speakers.
Not long after its purchase, the partnership program was launched – under its auspices, Ring offers authorities access to video footage recorded by the millions of internet-connected devices its customers have mounted to their homes.
In turn, citizens alerted to suspicious or outright criminal activity outside their residences by Ring’s motion sensors can submit reports directly to law enforcement via an accompanying app, ‘Neighbors’.