Amazon is building a privately run, for-profit surveillance state—and they’re getting local police to market it for them in exchange for VIP access to Amazon’s on-demand surveillance system.
The Washington Post reported that more than 400 local law enforcement agencies across the country have entered into surveillance partnerships with Amazon’s Ring doorbells. They provide police with free or subsidized camera-enabled doorbells to market to residents. And give the officers tightly scripted talking points to promote Amazon surveillance products.
The use of these technologies are particularly dangerous for low income people and communities of color that are historically over-policed. A recent study by Motherboard showed that Amazon Ring’s Neighbor App tends to encourage racial profiling and flood police with false reports that tie up resources. These partnerships threaten everyone’s basic rights from someone walking their dog to a mother playing with her kids in their yard. Bystanders are being recorded without their knowledge or consent, and are subject to the privacy and liberty concerns inherent in these surveillance partnerships.
If a police department wanted to install surveillance cameras on all of our front doors, they would have to get permission from elected officials and the public. Amazon has found the perfect end-run around local elected officials and community oversight. Ring’s “Law Enforcement Portal” app and “heat map” make it seamless and easy for police to request and store footage from users en masse, allowing for warrantless, dragnet surveillance with zero oversight or judicial review. Once received, footage can be used by law enforcement to conduct facial recognition searches, target protesters exercising their First Amendment rights, arrest people minor drug possession, or shared with other agencies like ICE.
But mayors and city officials have the power to stop police from entering into these partnerships, which is why we are calling on local elected officials to ban and stop these deceptive partnerships.
Sign the petition to tell your mayor and elected city officials: “Stop police from entering into for-profit surveillance partnerships with companies like Amazon Ring. These partnerships undermine our democratic process and basic civil liberties; they should be banned.”