- An email obtained by Motherboard revealed that at least 200 police departments across the US are partnering with Amazon’s home security firm Ring. Ring has not previously disclosed how many partnerships it has in place with the police.
- The email of notes obtained by Motherboard was written by the Chief of Police in Waynesboro, Virginia, who attended a Ring seminar on how to use its "Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal."
- The portal is a map of all the Ring cameras in a neighborhood. It allows police to reach out to homeowners with Rings to request access to their footage, an arrangement that Motherboard says allows police to sidestep the usual warrants required for obtaining security footage.
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At least 200 police departments around the US are partnering with Amazon’s home security firm Ring, according to a new report from Motherboard.
Motherboard obtained an email with notes taken by the Chief of Police in Waynesboro, Virginia who attended a training seminar with Ring. His notes indicated that during the seminar Ring explained that it currently partners with 200 US police departments.
Ring has not previously disclosed how many partnerships it has with the police. A spokesperson for Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
The seminar that these officers attended was reportedly about how to use the "Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal," Motherboard wrote.
Ring’s portal is a map of all the approximate locations of Ring cameras in a neighborhood. It allows police to reach out to homeowners with Ring surveillance cameras and request access to their footage. This is an arrangement that Motherboard says allows police to sidestep the usual warrants required for obtaining security footage.
Last week, Motherboard reported that under some of these partnerships, police departments were required to promote Ring in their local communities in exchange for earning credit toward free cameras.
Motherboard said it obtained a signed memorandum of understanding as well as emails between Ring and the Lakeland, Florida police department revealing the terms of these secret agreements, Business Insider previously reported.
These emails showed that Ring gave the Lakeland police department 15 of its home security cameras for free as well as access to the online portal. In exchange for this, the Lakeland Police Department was contractually obligated to "encourage" residents to download the Ring app. For every download, the police department would get a $10 credit that can be used towards the purchase of more Ring cameras.
Lakeland Police Department told Business Insider that it was never required or encouraged the public to buy a Ring device.
"This doesn’t surprise me at all, and it’s the perfect example of how corporate surveillance and government surveillance are inextricably linked," Evan Greer, deputy director of digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, told Motherboard on Monday.
"It’s time to come to grips with the fact that the 1984 dystopian future we all fear isn’t something a future authoritarian government might impose," he said. "It’s something that’s being built right now, in plain sight, through partnerships between private companies and government agencies."
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