Amazon may have banned police from using its facial recognition technology, but a new report shows the tech giant is providing thousands of departments with video and audio footage from Ring.
Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that defends civil liberties, found over 1,400 agencies are working with the Amazon-owned company and hundreds of them have ‘deadly histories.’
Data from sources reveals half of the agencies had at least one fatal encounter in the last five years and altogether are responsible for a third of fatal encounters nationwide.
These departments are also involved with the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Alton Sterling, Botham Jean, Antonio Valenzuela, Michael Ramos and Sean Monterrosa.
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Electronic Frontier Foundation , a nonprofit that defends civil liberties, found over 1,400 agencies are working with Amazon-owned Ring and hundreds of them have ‘deadly histories’
DailyMail.com has reached out to Ring, but the firm has yet to comment on its partnerships with certain police departments.
Data from Ring shows it has partnered with 1,403 law enforcement agencies as of June 25, 2020.
However, EFF accessed data from two separate sources that show police violence across the US that suggests the number may much higher.
Mapping Police Violence reports 6,084 deaths, of which agencies with Ring partnerships accounted for 2,165, while Fatal Encounters reports 9,635 deaths, with 3,382 involving agencies with Ring partnerships.
By late August 2019, Ring had partnered with some 400 agencies and now, according to Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), that number has jumped by more than 1,000 – and 600 were added in just the last six months
Ring, owned by powerhouse Amazon, specializes in smart security devices with its most popular being the video doorbell.
The technology lets users see, talk to and record people who come to their doorstep, all of which is stored in a cloud.
The firm began partnering with police forces across the US in 2018, which gives them potential access to homeowners’ camera footage for investigations.
Ring told The Washington Post in a 2019 interview that videos include a time stamp and location, ‘helping officers see footage from the company’s millions of Internet-connected cameras installed nationwide.’
However, departments are not given access to on-going streams, but must put in a request that needs to be granted by the homeowner.
By late August 2019, Ring had partnered with some 400 agencies and now, according to Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), that number has jumped by more than 1,000 – and 600 were added in just the last six months.
EFF Digital Strategist Jason Kelley said: ‘At a time when communities are more concerned than ever before about their relationship with law enforcement, these partnerships encourage an atmosphere of mistrust and could allow for near-constant surveillance by local police.’
‘These partnerships make it all too easy for law enforcement to harass, arrest, or detain someone who is simply exercising their legal rights to free expression – for example, by walking through a neighborhood, protesting in their local community, or canvassing for a political campaign.’
These departments are also involved with the deaths of Breonna Taylor (pictured), Alton Sterling, Botham Jean, Antonio Valenzuela, Michael Ramos and Sean Monterrosa. Taylor was shot and killed in her home by police officers back in March
Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police officers following a struggle outside a convenience store
EFF suggests Ring partnerships is creating ‘a high-speed digital mechanism by which users can make snap judgments about who does, and who does not, belong in their neighborhood.’
The organizations also notes that it makes it far too easy for law enforcement to harass, arrest and detain someone for exercising their rights to free expression, such as taking a walk through a neighborhood.
‘Amazon Ring should not be partnering with any law enforcement agency—but it’s especially concerning how many of the agencies they’ve partnered with are responsible for deaths in their communities in the last few years,’ EFF writes.
Recently, Nextdoor’s Forward to Police feature, which allows users to share their posts or urgent alerts directly with law enforcement, was ended as part of the company’s ‘anti-racism’ work.
EFF calls on Ring to do the same by ending their partnerships with law enforcement agencies.
‘People across the nation are calling for policing reform,’ said Kelley.
‘Amazon has acknowledged this important movement, and stopped selling its face recognition tool called Rekognition to police for one year. But that concession means nothing to the public if the company continues to expedite police access to home surveillance footage through Ring.’