Ring, an Amazon-owned electronic doorbell company, has admitted providing video to law enforcement without the device owner’s consent 11 times this year, according to Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey.
The revelation was one of several released by Markey’s office on Wednesday following questions posed by the senator to the video security company, including that law enforcement requests for Ring footage have increased fivefold since 2019. and that the company declined to answer several questions about the capacity of its devices.
“As my ongoing investigation of Amazon illustrates, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to move around, congregate and converse in public without being tracked and recorded,” Markey said in a statement.
Markey has called for passage of the Facial Recognition and Biometrics Moratorium Act, which he says would prevent law enforcement from accessing facial, voice and other biometrics he has. classified as “sensitive”.
“We cannot accept this as inevitable in our country,” Markey said. “Law enforcement’s growing reliance on private surveillance could become a central part of the growing web of surveillance systems for which Amazon and other powerful tech companies are responsible.”
The 11 times videos were provided to law enforcement officials without the user’s consent were part of the company’s provision called an “emergency circumstance exception,” according to Markey’s statement.
Ring revealed that it now has partnerships with 2,161 law enforcement agencies that can request images from Ring users, which Markey said was a fivefold increase from 2019.
Markey added that the company would not commit to excluding facial recognition technology from its products and did not specify the distance from which Ring products can capture audio recordings. The company also wouldn’t commit to eliminating the doorbells default setting of automatic audio recording or making end-to-end encryption the default storage option for consumers, the statement said.