Amazon Ring camera app forwards user messages to police


When the Los Angeles Police Department opted to monitor the messages posted in forums on Neighbors, a companion app to Amazon's Ring doorbell cameras, the system forwarded over 13,000 messages in just over two years. Research shows, however, that this type of surveillance does a poor job of deterring property crime. A study of Neighbors posts in LA also shows that posters typically live in whiter, more affluent districts, and about 30% of posts did not describe criminal activity, just behaviour posters found suspicious, often because the individual concerned were of a different race. As of September 2023, 2,604 police departments across the US had signed  contracts similar to LA's with the Ring network.

Publication: The Markup

Writer: Lam Thuy Vo