By Audrey Conklin
An Amazon at-home surveillance company is reportedly teaming up with local police departments in an effort to strengthen public safety, but not everyone is convinced that partnering with a big tech company is the wisest idea.
Ring, which Amazon acquired in April 2018, creates surveillance products that can share footage with local police as long as users give their consent. (RELATED: Amazon Replies After Joe Biden Claims Company Is Not Paying Its Fair Share)
“Ring’s mission is to make neighborhoods safer,” Ring told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement Friday. “We work toward this mission in a number of ways, including partnering with law enforcement agencies so they can share official, important crime and safety updates and work together with their local community through the Neighbors app.”
“We also work with cities and community groups to offer community members subsidized or discounted Ring devices in an effort to make home security accessible to more people,” the statement continued.
Ring could be working with as many as 200 law enforcement agencies nationwide in an effort to familiarize officers and local communities with its products, according to Motherboard, citing an email obtained by public record request.
“It’s time to recognize that Big Tech plus Big Government equals Big Brother,” Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future — a non-profit that aims to ensure free expression on the internet — said in a statement to Fox News.
“Amazon has found the perfect loophole: by entering into these partnerships with police, they’re building a privately-run, for-profit, surveillance dragnet without any real accountability,” he continued. (RELATED: Robots Track, Fire Thousands Of Amazon Employees Every Year, Report Suggests)
The city of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, partnered with Amazon’s Ring to give residents discounts on surveillance products using a $100,000 subsidy.
“Cameras have proven to be a useful form of technology in the Sheriff’s crime prevention and crime solving efforts. The City and Sheriff’s Department have negotiated a subsidy with Ring.com to provide RPV residents with a discount on select devices,” according to the city’s Facebook post announcing the move in 2017.
Rancho Palos Verdes is offering a limited number of $50 incentives to residents for a device limit of three products-per-household. Ring.com is also offering discounts on other accessory devices.
An April 16 email obtained by Motherboard reportedly shows notes taken by a police officer during a Ring webinar that say 200 law enforcement agencies use Ring’s “Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal.”
Also: I obtained images from Waynesboro, VA and Wolcott, CT which show police conducting Ring camera “giveaways.” These are a part of traditional police “partnerships” with Ring. Gizmodo reported that the number of Ring-police partnerships is at least 225.https://t.co/n3ZQkdrxbr pic.twitter.com/aqnZn2WZIU
— Caroline Haskins (@carolineha_) August 2, 2019
“We’re proud of our partnerships with law enforcement agencies across the country, but have also taken care to design these partnerships in a way that keeps our users in control,” a Ring spokesperson told Fox News. “Every decision we make at Ring centers around privacy, security and user control.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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