The Los Angeles Police Division requested entry to Amazon Ring footage whereas investigating vandalism throughout final summer time’s anti-racism and police brutality protests, in keeping with newly launched emails. The Electronic Frontier Foundation calls it the primary proof of police attempting to determine protest attendees with house surveillance cameras — though it’s a part of a for much longer relationship between Amazon and regulation enforcement.
The EFF revealed a string of redacted emails between the LAPD and an Amazon consultant. The doc contains copies of a number of requests to Ring clients, asking for surveillance footage from their camera-equipped doorbells. Most of the varieties are closely redacted, however on June sixteenth, Amazon submitted a request clearly associated to the protests. “In the course of the current protests, people have been injured and property was looted, broken, and destroyed,” the LAPD mentioned within the request. It requested for video throughout a redacted time period, “in an effort to determine these accountable.” A minimum of one person seems to have despatched video footage quickly after.
Amazon has reportedly partnered with over 2,000 police and fire departments, which allegedly requested footage for round 22,000 complete incidents in 2020. Most requests ask customers to voluntarily submit video, however police can receive footage immediately by means of Amazon with a search warrant or courtroom order. Police departments have additionally used social media and high-tech instruments like facial recognition to trace down protest attendees — typically in cases that involve clear acts of property destruction or violence, and typically over fees that seem inflated or retaliatory.
In a press release to the EFF, the LAPD mentioned it’s “not unusual for investigators to ask companies or residents if they may voluntarily share their footage with them.” Nevertheless, Ring cameras let police entry a far better wealth of video recordings — making questions of privateness much more pressing.