The Amazon Ring doorbell comes packaged with many security and privacy concerns. And Amazon makes it awfully easy for the local police to violate people’s privacy.
For more than a year, police departments partnered with Amazon’s Ring unit had access to a map showing where its video doorbells were installed, down to the street they were on, public documents revealed. So while Ring said it didn’t provide police with addresses for the devices, a feature in the map tool let them get extremely close. The feature was removed in July.
The heat maps feature was one of several surveillance tools that Ring told police “should not be shared with the public.” The first Ring police partnership listed started in March 2018, and the video doorbell company had at least 335 police partners by the time it disabled the feature, records show.
Ring, which Amazon purchased for $839 million in February 2018, has now partnered with up to 631 law enforcement agencies in the US, creating a public surveillance tool for police departments through its video doorbells.
Shreyas Gandlur » Privacy researcher and Student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign