Oversight Subcommittee Seeks Information About Ring’s Agreements with Police and Local Governments
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 19, 2020)—Today, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to Amazon seeking information about its subsidiary Ring Inc.’s partnerships with city governments and local police departments, along with the company’s policies governing the data it collects. Ring sells internet-connected home surveillance equipment, such as doorbell cameras and cameras inside children’s bedrooms.
“The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy is writing to request documents and information about Ring’s partnerships with city governments and local police departments, along with the company’s policies governing the data it collects,” Krishnamoorthi wrote. “The Subcommittee is examining traditional constitutional protections against surveilling Americans and the balancing of civil liberties and security interests.”
Ring reportedly works closely with local governments and police departments to promote its surveillance tools and has entered into agreements with cities to provide discounts on Ring products to their residents in exchange for city subsidies. Reports also indicate that Ring has entered into agreements with police departments to provide free Ring products for giveaways to the public.
Ring reportedly tightly controls what cities and law enforcement agencies can say about Ring, requiring any public statement to be approved in advance. In one instance, Ring is reported to have edited a police department’s press release to remove the word “surveillance.”
“The Subcommittee is seeking more information regarding why cities and law enforcement agencies enter into these agreements,” wrote Krishnamoorthi. “The answer appears to be that Ring gives them access to a much wider system of surveillance than they could build themselves, and Ring allows law enforcement access to a network of surveillance cameras on private property without the expense to taxpayers of having to purchase, install, and monitor those cameras.”
The Subcommittee demands Amazon provide information about these partnerships dating back to January 1, 2013.
Click here to read today’s letter to Amazon.