Your Ring camera could be a part of a police surveillance network
Amazon's Ring smart home doorbells are helping police departments build surveillance networks right from your neighbors' front doors.
Police departments across the country in major cities like Houston, down to smaller towns with fewer than 30,000 people.
Have offered free or discounted ring doorbells to citizens sometimes using taxpayer funds to pay for the products.
Ring owners are supposed to have the choice of providing police footage but in some cases the giveaways.
Come with the stipulation that you have to turn over footage to police when requested.
I'll talk to us about what's going on here.
Yeah so a lot of people buy rings.
They're very popular.
They think that will help them stop.
You know package thieves or find somebody suspicious in your neighborhood You think well, if it's just facing up my doorstep, it's not really anything affecting me or my neighbors until you realize that your neighbor across street also has this ring and it's facing your house and it can get footage of you And just build that out to your entire neighborhood because that's what it is for a lot of police departments now.
They have been seeing that residents have Ring so they call up Amazon and they partner with them in this program called Neighbors, which is a social media app available.
It's kinda like Next Door where it's just among your neighbors and you post Footage up there.
Like, hey, look, this person's stealing packages, watch out for him.
Now when police partner with Amazon, they're allowed to request for footage directly from people.
So they can kinda put a jail fence around a block or something.
It's like, hey, we've been looking for this guy, we believe he's around here.
Can you send us this kind of footage?
That's supposed to be optional, but the problem is in some give aways the requirements are, there are strings attached here hey like when we asked for footage you are giving this to us like that's it, because we gave you this camera for free.
And essentially as kind of setting up like an open servilance network for a lot of police officers Who were never able to get cameras in these places.
When you get a security camera, that's usually for a city or like a big area not you know on your block.
And now they have it, and these residential areas that they never really have surveillance footage of before.
As you reporting [UNKNOWN], what was the most shocking thing?
The biggest thing that stuck out to me was just how much money Amazon is making out of this.
So when you have a ring camera you don't have to get a subscription plan for it but it's basically you don't you can't store any footage otherwise you can just see like a live view.
But you can't save that video, so it's kind of useless unless you get a subscription.
The cheapest one starts at $3 a month.
And so, in some cases, Amazon will give these cameras away for free, or they'll heavily subsidize it, because it's kind of this model of we're gonna sell the blade, not the razors, kinda.
I don't know if it's the other way around.
Mm-hm, right, yeah.
So in one case where they donated about like.
$18,000 to one town in subsidies.
It turns out that, they gave out 600 cameras in that town.
They can make all that money back in less than 10 months and then just continue to see their profits arise from that.
You know, Amazon is asking police, do you want to partner with us and then police go to residents and ask, do you want to buy this Amazon product.
It's this weird team.
It's all a bunch of backscratching.
And then all the money just goes back to Amazon.