SEATTLE — Amazon's Ring is launching a new requirement for fire and law enforcement agencies requesting surveillance video in a move to be more transparent.
Starting this week, public safety agencies will have to publicly post on Ring's "Neighbors" app to request video clips or information from residents in their communities.
In a blog post, Ring said public safety agencies will need to post the requests in an app category called "Request for Assistance." The category and posts will be public in the Neighbors feed and on the agency’s public profile. The company said agencies can use the posts to "notify residents of an incident and ask their communities for help related to an investigation.”
Agencies could previously privately message users to request video.
Jennifer Lee, the technology and liberty manager for ACLU Washington, said this change is not going to solve a much bigger issue.
"Amazon providing a little bit more transparency into how police departments use ring cameras doesn't stop police abuse," said Lee. “[Ring] fuels the criminalization of black and brown people by amplifying existing racism and increasing policing in our communities.”
For years, Ring has faced concerns of racial profiling and privacy issues because of its growing partnership with law enforcement agencies across the country.
The blog post explained Ring users will have control over their experiences and that nothing is shared with an agency unless a user goes through the steps to do so.
Lee said this new requirement does not change the role Ring has played.
"There are documented instances of police using ring cameras to surveil, intimidate and punish protesters, including Black Lives Matter protesters," said Lee. "Increasing police surveillance does not stop police abuse and, in fact, often exacerbates the police abuse that we are trying to stop.”