Letter continues multi-year effort by Senator Markey to curtail Ring’s harmful surveillance practices, encourage engagement with civil liberties experts
Washington (June 14, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today sent a letter to Amazon, the parent company of Ring, to address ongoing issues related to privacy violations and data sharing with police departments. In the letter, Senator Markey requests that Amazon provide a public update on the steps Ring has taken to remove private policing agencies from its Neighbors Public Safety Service (NPSS), reduce the potential for its products to be misused in harmful ways, and protect individuals’ right to privacy. The letter marks the most recent Ring oversight action from Senator Markey, who has successfully pressured the video surveillance company to make changes to its policies to address over-policing, surveillance, and bias.
“[Ring’s] surveillance system threatens the public in ways that go far beyond abstract privacy invasion: individuals may use Ring devices’ audio recordings to facilitate blackmail, stalking, and other damaging practices,” wrote Senator Markey. “As Ring products capture significant amounts of audio on private and public property adjacent to dwellings with Ring doorbells—including recordings of conversations that people reasonably expect to be private— the public’s right to assemble, move, and converse without being tracked is at risk.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Senator Markey’s questions for Amazon Chief Executive Andrew Jassy include:
In 2019, Senator Markey sent two letters to Amazon, raising concerns that the integration of Ring’s cameras with law enforcement could create a surveillance network that contributes to invasive policing. Senator Markey called on Ring to launch a proactive review of its engagement with police in consultation with outside experts. Subsequently, Ring partnered with the Policing Project at New York University School of Law to conduct an audit related to over-policing, surveillance, and bias associated with Ring’s products. Responses from Amazon to Senator Markey’s first and second letters can be found HERE (September 2019) and HERE (November 2019).
Ring has since adopted measures that work to address Senator Markey’s concerns, including: