Amazon’s Ring security system is facing criticism after reports surfaced that the system shared user data without consent.
Axios reports that the doorbell system acknowledged sharing information without user consent with law enforcement. It claimed that it had done this multiple times during the year.
Amazon wrote in a letter that it only shared the data with law enforcement when “there was an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury,” although no specific examples were given.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. (the first to make public the information regarding security breaches), made it available. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) made the information public and called for the company’s commitment to stop using voice recognition in its products. While the company indicated that they do not currently employ voice recognition services, it did not say anything about their future intentions.
Markey said the breach is just another example of Amazon’s “growing web” of surveillance systems.
“Increasing law enforcement reliance on private surveillance creates a crisis of accountability, and 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,” Markey wrote in a statement.
Axios reports that Ring has entered into an agreement with thousands law enforcement agencies, which allows them to request data from users.
An audit by New York University’s Policing Project shows that most requests were related to “relatively serious property crimes and some violent crimes.” Shootings and homicides comprised 16% of requests.
Amazon is not disputing this. Amazon says it’s committed to user privacy.
Axios reported that Amazon’s vice-president for public policy Brian Huseman claimed, “We will continue putting privacy, security, control, and user controls as we pursue technologies to help our mission of making neighbourhoods safer,” according to Axios.
Ring said its actions are legal.
A spokesperson for Ring told Axios that the law allows companies such as Ring to disclose information to government agencies if they believe an emergency involving danger to life or serious bodily injury to anyone requires disclosure without delay. Ring adheres to that legal standard.
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