Ring, a company that makes camera doorbells, reportedly struck a deal with over 400 police departments nationwide, allowing authorities to request footage from a homeowner’s installed doorbell. According to The Washington Post, police are permitted to request doorbell footage within a specific time and location—though homeowners are free to decline the requests from authorities. The company said law enforcement will not be given access to ongoing video or live feeds. Ring—owned by Amazon—reportedly said it would not hand over footage if confronted with a subpoena, but would comply when given a search warrant or any other situation in which it was legally obligated to produce user footage.
The doorbell works by alerting users when a doorbell rings or if the camera senses a motion by the door. Users can access the camera’s live feed to see who or what is there from a mobile app. Users currently have the option to share footage with a social network called Neighbors, which allows people to report and discuss crimes or suspected crimes. Beyond being able to access footage, law-enforcement officers are also able to chat directly with users on the Neighbors feed and get notified when homeowners in their jurisdiction post messages on the app. Eric Kuhn, the general manager of Neighbors, told the Post the group has “had a lot of success in terms of deterring crime and solving crimes that would otherwise not be solved as quickly.”