Amazon Ring hands home camera footage to police without asking customers first

The rise of affordable, 'smart' security cameras that connect to your phone has given thousands of people much-needed peace of mind when they're away from home.

However, suspicions about what companies like Amazon do with the camera footage may not be completely unfounded.

The company has admitted to the US government that it hands over video and audio recordings from its Ring smart doorbells 'immediately' to law enforcement without asking for users' permission first.

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Amazon says it does so in situations where someone could die or get seriously injured, and insists it is following the law.

In a letter to the US Senate earlier this month, Amazon's VP of public policy, Brian Huseman, said: "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.

It added: "So far this year, Ring has provided videos to law enforcement in response to an emergency request only 11 times. In each instance, Ring made a good-faith determination that there was an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to a person requiring a disclosure of information without delay."

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However, the revelation could deepen privacy concerns about Amazon, which has already been criticised in the past for its use of audio recordings made by its Echo smart speakers.

US Senator Edward Markey, who is pushing for a law limiting the use of facial recognition and biometrics, said: "As my ongoing investigation into Amazon illustrates, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to move, assemble, and converse in public without being tracked and recorded. We cannot accept this as inevitable in our country."

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