It's no secret that Ring has been actively seeking partnerships with police. Last month we learned that Amazon asked police departments to advertise Ring cameras in return for free giveaway units. "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 previously told Engadget.
Today, Ring also announced a statement saying:
"Customers, not law enforcement, are in control of their videos. Videos are shared through the Neighbors program only if: 1) a customer chooses to post it publicly on the Neighbors app; 2) explicit consent is provided by the customer. Law enforcement agencies who participate in the Neighbors app must go through the Ring team when making a video request to customers. Customers can choose to opt out or decline any request, and law enforcement agencies have no visibility into which customers have received a request and which have opted out or declined."
Some worry that Ring is going too far. Ring reportedly wants to collect data from 911 calls. It would then push that info to nearby Ring users as crime news. But information recorded during emergency calls often includes names, medical information, addresses and other sensitive information. Ring has been accused of coaching law enforcement on how to obtain video footage without a warrant. While users are not legally obligated to share their camera's footage with police, they may not feel comfortable turning down a request. And according to Motherboard, Ring has encouraged users to form Watch teams, post videos on social media, aid law enforcement and recruit new users -- all in exchange for freebies and promo codes.
Ring seems to see no issue in its relationship with law enforcement. "Neighbors and local law enforcement have achieved amazing results by working together through the Neighbors app," the company wrote in a blog post.
Update 8/29/19 9:30AM ET: This story was updated to include a statement from Ring that clarifies how law enforcement is permitted to access customers' video footage.