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Amazon announces new 'Home Mode' privacy feature for Ring doorbells

The video doorbells won't record when owners are home, if they want it that way.

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"Home Mode" turns off audio and video recording when Ring owners are home.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Amazon on Wednesday announced a new privacy feature for its Ring doorbells called "Home Mode."

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The feature, which Amazon's hardware chief David Limp announced at the company's gadgets-focused event in Seattle, would prevent Ring doorbell cameras from recording audio and video footage when residents are home. It will be released in the fall, Limp said. 

"We want to ensure that customers have the control with the cameras they have," he said. 

Limp did not comment on Ring's hundreds of police partnerships in the US. Amazon purchased Ring for $839 million in February 2018, and the video doorbell company has rapidly expanded since the acquisition.

Privacy and civil rights advocates have criticized Ring over its close ties with police departments, warning that the Amazon-owned company is helping create a surveillance network for law enforcement agencies

Ring has partnered with more than 465 law enforcement agencies in the last two years, with the pace increasing after Amazon's acquisition. Police see benefits in the video doorbell, noting that clips from people's doorsteps have helped them investigate crimes. 

Ring defended its partnerships with police, saying that it helps create safer communities by working with law enforcement

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