“Police should not have dual loyalty to a private company and the public — their loyalty should be to the public,” he said. “Any sort of blurring of that line causes us to question that loyalty….”
Advocates fear that the cameras will allow police access to surveillance footage while bypassing the public process to approve more traditional security cameras. They have pointed out that contracts between police and Ring often face little public scrutiny and experts have raised concerns over requests from Ring to get access to police department’s computer-aided dispatch feeds. Advocates have also questioned how comfortable users feel in denying law enforcement requests.
When one Kansas police department announced their partnership with Ring, Amazon “sent the department a press release template and noted the final communique would have to be approved by Ring before release,” according to the article. And for one police department in Georgia, Amazon’s Ring “heavily edited the press release about the program,” removing a sentence about their $15,920 donation of video doorbells and the fact that Amazon would even help install them in homes. “Ring also changed wording from the police department that said the department ‘will be able to access videos submitted by subscribers of Ring’ to say the department will ‘join existing crime and safety conversations with local residents’.”
CNET also reports that Amazon “spent more than a year offering discounts and applying peer pressure with constant reminders and emails to convince officers to sign up…. When police didn’t respond, Ring would follow up by noting neighboring law enforcement agencies that have joined, pushing for the Chula Vista police to join them.”