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Amazon AI

Ring’s Partnerships With Law Enforcement Ignite Fresh Privacy Concerns

As Amazon’s Ring doorbell expands its public-private partnerships to dozens of cities across the country, some police departments have begun requiring users “to turn over footage when requested,” CNET reported Wednesday. The practice drew rebukes from privacy advocates, who say police are using discounted offers from Ring to entice residents to unwittingly become part of a comprehensive surveillance network.

In response to the CNET story, a Ring spokeswoman said the company would begin cracking down on such arrangements. “Ring does not support programs that require recipients to subscribe to a recording plan or that footage from Ring devices be shared as a condition for receiving a donated device. We are actively working with partners to ensure this is reflected in their programs.”

The episode is the latest in a string of privacy concerns that have hit Ring since Amazon acquired the video doorbell maker in early 2018. As The Information reported in December,  Ring sends large swaths of customer video footage to an R&D lab in Kiev, Ukraine. Customers were not made aware of the arrangement, which critics said showed the company had lax security measures and was overly aggressive in its attempts to improve its artificial intelligence system.

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