Amazon’s Ring Announces Police Will No Longer Be Able To Request Access To Camera Video Through App

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Julianna Frieman Contributor
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Amazon’s Ring announced Wednesday that police will no longer be able to request access to video captured by its doorbell camera through its app.

The home security company plans to disable the “Request for Assistance” (RFA) mechanism that allowed public safety agencies “to request and receive video in” the doorbell’s Neighbors app, according to a blog post by Ring.

“Public safety agencies like fire and police departments can still use the Neighbors app to share helpful safety tips, updates, and community events,” Eric Kuhn, Head of Neighbors, wrote in the post. “They will no longer be able to use the RFA tool to request and receive video in the app.”

Law enforcement will still have the ability to secure Ring doorbell video through a subpoena or search warrant. Amazon responded to a letter sent by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey in 2022 as part of an investigation revolving around law enforcement use of Ring footage with a statement that partly said law enforcement would be able to access footage provided they followed appropriate legal channels.

“Ring has stated that it will not share ‘customer information’ with law enforcement absent consent, a warrant, or “an exigent or emergency” circumstance,” the statement read. “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 update only revokes the ability for police to use the app to obtain footage. (RELATED: Ring Doorbell Video Shocks Couple After Bizarre Interaction With Dog Sitter Suspected Of Drinking, Trashing House)

Some social media users reacted with mild dissatisfaction to the disabled feature.

“I think this is a step in the wrong direction, but not a big step,” one user wrote.

Ring doorbell video has provided evidence of a crime on several occasions. In one alleged incident, a man’s Ring doorbell alerted him of a suspicious man at his doorstep, according to ABC 23 News. The Bakersfield Police Department later reportedly confirmed the alleged intruder was armed with a firearm. Audio from video captured by the device documented an alleged shootout with a neighbor who acted in self-defense, the outlet reported.

In another alleged incident, doorbell camera footage appeared to show an alleged suspect accelerate her vehicle toward officers. They were reportedly responding to a report that she was allegedly breaking into a house and armed with a knife.