Ring convinced police to join its network through peer pressure and freebies
The Daily Charge
Today Alfred you have a very interesting story out about the tactics that Amazon uses to get police to join its ring camera network.
It's through lots of nagging perhaps e mails a little peer pressure and offers for free cameras to the employees of the police departments.
Now for those who don't know this is for.
Amazon ring neighbors program, is basically this neighborhood watch app that creates a surveillance network through doorbell cameras.
There's about 250 police departments signed up now, but Alfred you got a hold of some emails between Amazon reps and those at the police department showing a little bit how these relationships get set up.
Can you kind of go through that?
You know all the cool kids are doing it is something usually expect on a playground not an interactions between ring executives and police departments.
But that's essentially exactly what we found through these requests.
In one email, a Ring executive even wrote, not sure if peer pressure is a good thing or a bad thing.
Just wanted to let you know all these other police departments that were joining the Ring Neighbors network.
And in the initial email they had sent in March 2018, they had sent an email basically saying, hey, we notice that there's more crime in your neighborhood.
Would you like to be a part of our network?
which we like our cameras
The police department in Chula Vista which is in California did not reply for about ten days and that rat followed up again and said Hey just want to check in also here's a flyer of all our products and $50 discounts for all the police department in your department.
For these Ring doorbells that seem to have gotten the foot in the door and a little more than a year later.
So it was like a discount.
They weren't just giving them for free, right?
They offer like two or three cameras for free just to see how it's used.
And then the $50 discount was just for police departments like personal use if they wanted to get that kind of money.
If people using Ring cams on their own without buying it or getting it through the police.
Does the police have access to the video that's recorded on the ring cam?
So the way it works is they have a portal once they sign up with Ring and they can request for footage in a specific area.
So if I live on a block where police want to know if, get footage of a crime happening They can request for footage like around that area and say, Hey, we need Footage from 5am to 5pm can use.
We're looking into a string of car thefts or something like that.
Can you send it over our way?
You have Have complete rights to say no to them but, they also know where these cameras are.
They do not have the exact address but they have a map of where these cameras are so in some cases we have seen they will just show up to a person's door and say hey we know you have a ring camera, We're looking for footage of this timing, can you give that over?
It's very different from when a police ask you online versus them at your doorsteps and asking for footage like that.
Well, what are the kind of slippery slope issues that we have to deal with?
Because on one hand, it's like okay, so Amazon's a company and they want more people have cameras, so what are the other sides that we have to think about?
Yeah, I see the pro arguments a lot where they talk about I welcome more cameras in our community in the sense that prevents like porch like facts or anything like that people stealing your packages, but I think it's important to consider that Having all of these cameras in neighborhoods are something that police have never had before.
For a while police have had security footage from businesses or in cities but not residential neighborhoods, on your doorstep or anything, that.
And it's essentially getting around the normal process of getting surveillance cameras which the city has to pay for.
And now getting the citizens to buy these security cameras, and then allowing police to basically request for it at any time.
And in areas that they've never really had access to security footage before, it's essentially asking people to create their own surveillance networks.
On the backs of Amazon.
So what happens when Dave Amazon decided, We don't want to do this anymore?
And it turned something that police looked at as this massive tool is just no longer available, or if they want to hike up the prices on it.
Yeah, having the corporation blended in with this community service is a little interesting to watch, that's for sure.