Ring Revises Policy: Halts Law Enforcement Access to Doorbell Camera Footage

Ring Revises Policy: Halts Law Enforcement Access to Doorbell Camera Footage

Amazon's subsidiary, Ring, has announced a significant policy change: it will no longer permit law enforcement agencies to access user-recorded footage from its doorbell cameras. This decision marks a departure from Ring's previous stance and was announced via a blog post on Wednesday.

Previously, police departments could use a feature in Ring's Neighbors app to request video recordings from users' doorbell cameras. This tool facilitated the process for law enforcement to gather video evidence from Ring devices in local neighborhoods. However, Ring has decided to discontinue this feature, effective immediately, as of late January. The company, however, did not elaborate on the reasons behind this policy shift.

Eric Kuhn, who leads the Neighbors program, clarified in the announcement that while direct requests for footage would no longer be possible, law enforcement agencies could still engage with the community through public posts on the Neighbors app. 

This update represents the latest in a series of measures that Ring has implemented to modify the level of interaction between police departments and the Neighbors app. These changes come amid growing scrutiny and public debate over Ring's relationships with law enforcement agencies across the United States and indicate a significant shift in how Ring manages the balance between community safety and user privacy.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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How is the door on the left side on the cover photo hang and opens toward the outside? And why are the other door and frame around it much smaller?

Looks like a botched A.I. job. Not only is the door not properly sized and clearly doesn't fit the frame... the door handle is a mess too. That goes for both doors and the little items between them. For a website that often speaks about how A.I. is taking the job of photographers, they were quick to use it! Like how hard would it be to grab a camera and shoot a real picture of any door with a ring doorbell. At the bare minimum... they could have added a ring doorbell into the picture.

Seems that law enforcement has another obstacle to overcome. Would that be any different than getting video from a security camera in or outside a business. FWIW, if I had a camera doorbell and had a crime committed, the LEO is welcome to view it. BTW, a friend's son had a traffic accident cleared up because of a security camera. The other party said it was his fault. I mentioned a security camera in the area. It helped him.

The difference is that cops are not entitled to any video footage from anyone regardless of whether its business or personal. They must first go to a judge and present probable cause in order to get a warrant. By requesting video footage directly from Ring, they are sidestepping the judicial process. They are also invading a citizens privacy by unlawfully indirectly spying. You have to keep in mind that some of the requested footage has nothing to do with a crime. It was purely about surveillance on a person or business. This doesn't mean that a cop couldn't just ask the Ring doorbell owner if they would be willing to share the footage. That is perfectly legal.

I fully support this decision as it is an invasion of privacy, which could be used to implicate a person under false pretenses. It also sidesteps the process of having to get a warrant to obtain evidence. People need to remember that not all law enforcement officials are good people. Some have abused this power to stalk, harass and terrorize citizens.

So if see that a porch pirate had taken my delivery package, the police need to get a court order to view the video?

Ring videos were responsible for arresting a thief in my son's neighborhood. Broad daylight to boot!

A second incident in the subdivision has prompted by son to look at the Ring system. His son came home from work and found a stranger going through mailboxes; 9:30 PM. This makes me uneasy for the safety of my daughter-in-law and granddaughters.