We often hear things about ‘big brother’ and how you’re always being watched via anything that connects to the internet. You could be being watched by your TV, your phone, your vehicle, and hidden cameras in houses or hotels.
People say you can get away and lessen just how much you are being spied on by investing in a VPN, others say you can put a piece of tape or a band aid over your camera lens when you are not using it on laptops or computers, but what about your doorbell that you are supposed to be watching?
Amazon’s smart doorbell company, Ring has been around for a while, and chances are you’ve heard of it at one point or another. However, if you’ve been living under a rock for a while – it’s a doorbell you can install on your door entrance and has a camera built-in. Through this nifty device, you can monitor who is at the door in real-time, and even speak to them. In a sense, it puts you back in control of your door.
At least that’s what Amazon would have you think. The Ring service has been passing surveillance film to the police without a warrant or consent from homeowners multiple times this year alone, as per a letter Amazon shipped to Congress recently.
The exposure features the level of Amazon’s authority over information produced by the doorbells’ cameras and mics, as well as extending its connections with a huge number of police divisions the nation over. That’s a lot of big brother watching going on, and if you need some sort of camera surveillance at your property, I’d suggest investing in a different brand that has the same features, and where people who shouldn’t have their nose in your business out of it.
Under its arrangements, Ring “reserves the right to respond immediately to urgent law enforcement requests for information in cases involving imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to any person,” the letter read. The organization likewise expects police to complete an “emergency request form” in the event where there is a dire need to overstep the ordinary policing procedures, as per the letter.
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To calm the populace down about having their privacy compromised Amazon’s Vice President of Public Policy Brian Huseman wrote, that of all the cases in this year so far, the police demands were met with the approaching peril danger and gave the data “without delay.”
With the freedom to move around, talk as you’d like, joke around, and just be free in general things seem to be tightening more and more as technology and big brother grow, but just how far down does this rabbit hole go?
Well in Husman’s letter, he explained that presently Ring cooperates with 2,161 police agencies and 455 local groups of firefighters – all of which can demand footage and information from your doorbell at any given time.
That’s a whole lot of people who have access to your front porch, without you ever even knowing. One Ring representative defended their actions saying that the law “authorizes companies like Ring to provide information to government entities if the company believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person, such as a kidnapping or an attempted murder, requires disclosure without delay. Ring faithfully applies that legal standard.”