Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, is enmeshed in a new surveillance scandal as The Washington Post, a newspaper he owns, reveals secret arrangement between his newly acquired company, Ring, with the police to share vast surveillance data.
Bezos’ Amazon bought Ring last year for more than $800 million, financial filings show.
From the Washington Post‘s investigation, Ring, a doorbell-camera company, has forged video-sharing partnerships with more than 400 police forces across the United States, granting them potential access to homeowners’ camera footage and a powerful role in what the company calls the nation’s “new neighborhood watch.”
The partnerships let police request the video recorded by homeowners’ cameras within a specific time and area, helping officers see footage from the company’s millions of Internet-connected cameras installed nationwide, the company said.
Officers don’t receive ongoing or live-video access, and homeowners can decline the requests, which Ring sends via email thanking them for “making your neighborhood a safer place.”
The Post notes that the number of police deals, which has not previously been reported, is likely to fuel broader questions about privacy, surveillance and the expanding reach of tech giants and local police. The rapid growth of the program, which began in spring 2018, surprised some civil liberties advocates, who thought that fewer than 300 agencies had signed on.
This is not the first surveillance scandal linked to Bezos’s Amazon. Amazon’s Alexa was rocked by an eavesdropping scandal that caused significant trust issues with the public, threatening brand loyalty.
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