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Amazon can send Ring footage to police without consent: ‘Emergency’ policy used 11 times in 2022

Amazon has used a company policy that allows it to send Ring doorbell surveillance footage to police without customer consent on 11 occasions so far this year, citing the presence of imminent danger, a company official said in a letter to a U.S. senator this month.

The videos were disclosed in cases where “an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to a person” was present, wrote Amazon’s vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, in the letter to Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., on July 1.

The letter states Amazon will not share customer information without consent or a warrant except in the case of an “exigent or emergency” circumstance, which allows the company to disclose the information or footage after the company has been alerted to the incident via an emergency request form. “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 disclosure of information without delay,” Huseman wrote in the letter.

A Ring spokesperson told USA TODAY the company could not go into detail about the 11 cases, but said legally, Ring can give information to the government if the company thinks someone is in danger of death or serious physical injury, such as kidnappings or attempted murder. Discussions between the company and the Massachusetts senator began in September 2019, when Markey said the company sends suggestive language to push users to consent to disclosing doorbell footage to authorities.

“If you would like to take direct action to make your neighborhood safer, this is a great opportunity,” Markey wrote at the time, quoting Ring and Amazon via The Washington Post.