It’s a data point that will likely only increase congressional scrutiny of the tech giant, which lawmakers have already reprimanded for its privacy practices, after its facial recognition service Rekognition falsely associated 28 members of Congress with criminal photos in 2018 and how their Echo Dot Kids Edition protects children’s privacy. .
The company also faces antitrust concerns over its dominance in online retailing and its treatment of third-party sellers who use your platform.
Doorbells, in particular, raise privacy concerns due to their popularity, Amazon’s deals with law enforcement, and Amazon’s growing technological capabilities. In 2020, Ring responded to a letter from five senators and revealed that Four employees improperly accessed Ring video data.
Amazon currently has deals for let 2,161 police departments across the country use an app called Neighbors where users post Ring camera footage and leave comments. Police can use the app to send alerts and request video.
Amazon said in the letter that it shares images with police without a warrant in emergency circumstances involving imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm. The company said it decides whether requests meet its emergency standards.
Ring spokesman Brendan Daley also said the company also does not require consent when sharing images with police on warrants, though it does notify owners.
Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, wrote in the letter to Markey that each of the 11 times he shared videos without the device owner’s consent was because “Ring made a good faith determination that there was imminent danger.” . of death or serious physical injury to a person that requires the disclosure of information without delay.”
Amazon did not provide any details about when or where these 11 incidents occurred.
Amazon’s agreements with law enforcement allow officers to request Ring Doorbell images for entire neighborhoods. When a request is submitted in a specific geographic area, Ring owners receive a notification asking them to upload recordings from a specific time period for law enforcement to view. The doorbells can be triggered via motion detection and can capture audio from up to 30 feet away, according to a Consumer Reports testmaking them useful to the police.
In 2021, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that the police in Los Angeles requested footage from Ring recording the Black Lives Matter protests.
“As my ongoing investigation into Amazon illustrates, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to move, meet and converse in public without being tracked and recorded,” Markey said in a statement.
As Congress ponders a federal data privacy lawthe proposed bill would not cover Ring’s sharing of data with law enforcement, as it allows for exceptions in cases where a company needs to comply with law enforcement agencies.
Senator Markey’s office criticized Amazon for not removing automatic audio recording by default and argued that Ring should rule out using voice recognition or facial recognition for its products.
The company told the legislator, according to the letter, that Ring customers “expect and appreciate audio functionality.”