Ring Gives Videos to Police without a Warrant or User Consent

Amazon has revealed that it gives police videos from its Ring doorbells without a warrant and without user consent.

Ring recently revealed how often the answer to that question has been yes. The Amazon company responded to an inquiry from US Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), confirming that there have been 11 cases in 2022 where Ring complied with police “emergency” requests. In each case, Ring handed over private recordings, including video and audio, without letting users know that police had access to—and potentially downloaded—their data. This raises many concerns about increased police reliance on private surveillance, a practice that has long gone unregulated.

EFF writes:

Police are not the customers for Ring; the people who buy the devices are the customers. But Amazon’s long-standing relationships with police blur that line. For example, in the past Amazon has given coaching to police to tell residents to install the Ring app and purchase cameras for their homes—­an arrangement that made salespeople out of the police force. The LAPD launched an investigation into how Ring provided free devices to officers when people used their discount codes to purchase cameras.

Ring, like other surveillance companies that sell directly to the general public, continues to provide free services to the police, even though they don’t have to. Ring could build a device, sold straight to residents, that ensures police come to the user’s door if they are interested in footage—­but Ring instead has decided it would rather continue making money from residents while providing services to police.

CNet has a good explainer.

Slashdot thread.

Posted on August 1, 2022 at 6:09 AM17 Comments


willmore August 1, 2022 7:03 AM

Are Ring cameras only used to photograph public spaces? If not, then these requests look very suspicious from a legal standpoint. I’m curious if any evidence gathered from these requests will taint the related investigation. “Fruit of the poisoned tree” and all.

William August 1, 2022 7:21 AM

Reading the terms of service and various reports on Ring, this isn’t surprising. Customers are told they will be asked for permission to use video as evidence, it doesn’t seem to have any limitations as to how the police can initially identify said video and from reports that find theservice is frequently abused by police to spy on their coworkers via their in home Ring devices, it’s not too dificult to connect the dots.

Clive Robinson August 1, 2022 7:24 AM

@ ALL,

In a way this is kind of “old news” because of admittadly unconfirmed stories about an Amazon take up scheme (and one of the rrasons I’ve repeatedly mentioned Ring is a realy bad idea privacy wise).

Apparently Amazon were in effect giving Ring units away via “Police Forces” and obviously people were wondering what the angle was…

Other stories surfaced about critical “video” going missing from peoples accounts, relating to LEO activities.

All stories and no hard facts reported, but a number of people myself included, assumed it was not just chance but action from agency. And the most likely agency to benifit would be LEO’s.

The thing is that Ring Vidio is not yours, you have no rights on it in the US. It is a “Third Party Business Record” thus judicial oversight is not required, just a simple letter or more likely an unverified EMail, if not direct login by the LEO’s…

I’ll be honest and say I think the same is true for an “Internet based” security system and I very strongly advise against them…

Also the ones that “ET Phone Home” to Chinese or other extraterritorial servers, are without doubt a National Security Risk.

We know that China and possibly others knows a lot about people from the “Office of Personnel Managment”(OPM) attack.

It would take very little to correlate and find addresses in the street with security cameras covering people with security clearences”

Think of it like Google Streetviee but with upto the minute updates what you look like what your partner looks like other members of your family, friends. What viehcles you drive their registration platr details, your basic daily time cycle.

Oh and much more with newer features, any one remember that Amwzon is doing it’s own version of Apple’s “Air-tags” to track peoples keys, handbags, wallets, luggage etc?

Remember China are currently the worlds experts on this kind of remote surveilance under their,

“Data from the East computing in the West”

Initiative that spys on just about every city, town, village and even minor hamlet in China…

Q August 1, 2022 7:35 AM

Therein lies the problem of entrusting your data to others.

It’s your data, don’t give it to others. Don’t let others take it. Don’t put it on the Internet. Don’t post it to Facebook, or any of the other antisocial media.

Mercury Rising August 1, 2022 7:52 AM

Q > “It’s your data, don’t give it to others.”

In the early days of social media I used to wonder why people did not follow that advice. As far as Ring is concerned, their behaviour also does not surprise. I can’t claim that I knew what they were doing but FWIW (really not worth anything) I had my own strong suspicions about it for a couple of years.

Overall if we consider the collecting and sharing of user data a rabbit hole, one can say that “it goes a lot deeper than many suspect”.

Clive Robinson August 1, 2022 8:04 AM

@ Mercury Rising, ALL,

Overall if we consider the collecting and sharing of user data a rabbit hole,

More like a “Gold Mine” than a “rabbit hole”…

Amazon has been doing all sorts of questionable things with regards to making their devices “must be Internet connected” for well over half a decade now.

If it were not lucrative in some way if not downright profitable, they would not do it. Even remembering their mainly psychopathic trend to control of all.

JonKnowsNothing August 1, 2022 9:33 AM


re: Ring-ing the neighborhood

In my urban city, we have “Dogs must be on Leash” rules and “pick up the pooo” rules.

A neighbor had Ring installed at their front door (1).

The Ring Neighbor was tired of an errant dog that was let loose from a few houses down the street, sans lease, sans owner, sans poo-collecter. This dog liked to make regular deposits on the Ring Neighbor’s lawn.

The Ring Neighbor contacted Authorities about the pooo-dropping-dog and the Authorities said that any dog could have dooed-it and asked “How can you be sure which dog did it”? The Ring Neighbor said… “Well, I have the video…”

The pooing-dog does less walkabouts now.

So that’s the great benefit of Ring for the Homeowner:

  • Catching Errant Poo-Dropping Dogs

Catching Porch Pirates is not working out. There are oodles of pictures, full of ID information, including car and driver. The Authorities are Not Interested. Stealing packages already delivered is considered a Low Level Crime it isn’t of interest.

If the package was stolen directly from a US Postal Person or pried out of the postal corner kiosk, that’s more serious attack on government and might get some notice. If the package is taken from a 3d Party delivery service or person, that falls into the No Interest classification.

Most 3d Party delivery services include a basic $100 insurance coverage for a package; a higher value can be purchased. So the cost burden of theft falls on the buyer and seller.

A good number of 3d Party delivery folks will take a picture of the items as they are sitting on the porch, as proof of delivery. This image may or may not help the delivery person if the items are stolen after they are delivered.

Ring image or uploaded smartphone photo, both are available for LEAs.


1) The neighbor may have other video installations, like around the garage or backyard, but the one at the front door is clearly visible. Other neighbors also have Ring visibly installed.

Ted August 1, 2022 1:05 PM

The Policing Project’s audit and report on Ring – specifically on Ring’s Neighbors app – is a well-structured read.

During the course of this audit, Ring has made over 100 changes. In this Part, we recount some of the most significant.

I wonder if any groups will be doing a thorough audit on the issue of police emergency requests for video.


Aaron August 1, 2022 4:12 PM

This is mostly why companies like Anker, created Eufy. Security and money; both of which people want more of. People want to control their own security, once it has been sufficiently, technologically made “user friendly”. But also, they don’t want to pay more to keep using the thing they already bought.

Just Passin' Thru August 1, 2022 6:54 PM

As @willmore alluded, I think there are non-obvious legal risks here.

If you put a Ring that is observing an area within your “curtilage” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtilage), then the area it views is no longer subject to society’s expectations of privacy — and viewed private acts obtained without warrant are now usable as evidence.

Similarly, if your neighbor mounts the Ring on the eaves of his house and it views your curtilage, it may legally be viewed as nothing different than a pole camera (which photos courts have upheld as legal even when staring at you for months at a time).

Humdee August 3, 2022 2:39 PM

@Q, others.

So, in essence, don’t participate in democracy.


The problem isn’t giving one’s data to others. The problem is that a “reasonable expectation of privacy” is whatever a boot-licking, autocratic-promoting federal judge says it is. It’s like porn; she knows it when she sees it and she sees it when it is her best interest to see it.

FWIW my own take is that the real debate shouldn’t be centered around access but around retention.


This essay by @Bruce is as relevant today as it was eight years ago.

ResearcherZero August 4, 2022 1:33 AM


whatever a boot-licking, autocratic-promoting federal judge says it is

That all depends on what the judge gets to see during evidence submission, dependent on the integrity of the prosecution, and how much they are receiving in the way of kick-backs from the police. It varies from state, so it matters on where the case is heard. Some states have particularly bad problems with bent detectives/police officers, prosecutors/judges taking bribes (and some court staff), and it has remained that way for a very long time.

The number of people who file an official complaint is exceedingly rare, and even then, it’s even rarer they follow up to check it went further than the waste paper basket. If a complaint ever is received, then the chances are even lower that anyone supports the individual that filed the complaint, and that individual is likely to receive a lot of “friendly” visits from bent cops, and for a very considerable amount of time (perhaps as long as those bent cops are employed). The chances that individual will continue to receive support, even from their own family, are slim. The complaints process may produce some recommendations, which will only be implemented after many other complaints are received, and a lengthy inquiry some 30 odd years later.

Some of the people who filed the complaints in that time period will have died, and some of them violently in “accidents” that bent cops had “absolutely nothing” to do with.

There are some very good people working in the courts however, though if you land on a snake, then you go all the way to the bottom. Preferably you want a date with a good judge, which all depends on the diary of the bent judges, and whether or not they happen to be otherwise engaged somewhere else on a particular day. If you are prosecuting bent cops, then they might spray you with bullets on the way home, shoot at you, grab you from the school bus for a little torture, shoot at you, grab you from school, grab you in the street, shoot at you… then start on your friends and relatives. A few of them might get jailed, but probably for money laundering, not the kidnapping and murders they committed (that would embarrass that state and too many people might ask questions why the state knowingly employed crooked cops for 30 years who were caught kidnapping children).

Finally the bent cops will pump out plenty of stories about pizza and Adrenochrome to ensure the public is suitably confused and stops talking about plain old localised corruption and stand over tactics. Then they can get back to acquiring land and businesses for their clients through the use of intimidation and kidnapping, or encouraging donations to the “policing Christmas fund”.

Some guy named Dave August 9, 2022 11:52 AM

“Ring could build a device, sold straight to residents, that ensures police come to the user’s door if they are interested in footage”

What does this even mean? Part of the value add of Ring for the average consumer is that recordings are stored in the cloud and not on the devices, so how is this magic device in the home doing anything?

JonKnowsNothing August 11, 2022 11:20 PM


While Ring gives LEAs images, Amazon walk-in-out stores are collecting full palm prints.

Per MSM reports they are offering a bonus if you will let them pre-scan your palms and fingers for their Store Person-ID database.


Search Terms

large-scale rollout
palm print

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