In the United States, police could until now access video recordings from Ring products without a warrant. This collaboration (to our knowledge not initially requested by the authorities) led to the application of a complementary application, called Neighbors.
In it, authorities can easily transmit prevention messages while allowing users to discuss security issues in their neighborhood. Above all, a button Request for assistance allowed the authorities to ask Amazon for recordings of doorbells and other nearby security products after a report.
Ring no longer collaborates as actively with the American police
Which helps the police add up the evidence to more easily apprehend the perpetrator(s) of a crime. The function Request for assistanceexists since 2021 – in the event of a request, a trace of the request remained publicly visible in the application. Recording which was never intended to be erased, for greater transparency.
However, the legality of the system and this collaboration was called into question from its launch. And it looks like Amazon has reached the end of the experiment. In a blog post on Wednesday, the firm announced new features for its Neighbors… but also the disappearance of the famous functionality Request for assistance.
“This week, we will also end service for the Request for Assistance (RFA) tool. Public safety agencies such as fire and police departments will still be able to use the Neighbors app to share helpful safety tips, updates, and community events. They will no longer be able to use the RFA tool to request and receive videos in the app. Posts from public safety agencies remain public and will be available for users to view on the Neighbors app news feed and agency profile, can be read on the Ring blog.
Amazon gives no official explanation, but we imagine that the legality of this merger was simply not solid enough. In the United States, as in many countries, the authorities must obtain a warrant from a judge before being able to consult video surveillance recordings. Amazon will therefore continue to transmit recordings to the authorities, but this time respecting current practices.
The fact that Ring is taking a particularly proactive approach with the authorities may have initially raised fears that Amazon would end up being tempted to adopt the same positioning in other markets. Do-it-yourself connected security products have become extremely popular… and winning the blessing of a public authority would have been, one imagines, a particularly well done move for the firm. However, it seems that the initial strategy of Jeff Bezos' firm had a few too many flaws…
- Ring announces on its blog the discontinuation of a functionality that American police could use without a warrant to view video recordings in a given area.
- The firm does not give any precise justification, but we can assume the existence of an untenable problem of legality.
- The firm will continue to transmit video recordings, but only on warrant.
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4.4 My opinion