Sen. Markey Slams Amazon's Ring Policies

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) provided a ringing denunciation of Amazon's privacy policies and civil rights protections--or lack of them--related to its Ring internet-connected video doorbell. 

Markey's investigation began in September and he said Tuesday (Nov. 19) that the findings showed "an alarming disregard for basic privacy protections for consumers, as well as a lack of codified rules or policies to protect consumers from invasive or even discriminatory information-gathering practices." 

Markey broke out his denunciation in the following list: 

  • "Ring has no restrictions on law enforcement sharing users’ footage with third parties
  • "Ring has no policies that prohibit law enforcement from keeping shared video footage forever
  • "Ring has no evidentiary standard for law enforcement to request Ring footage from users
  • "Ring refuses to commit to not selling users’ biometric data
  • "Ring has no oversight/compliance mechanisms in place to ensure that users don’t collect footage from beyond their property
  • "Ring has no oversight/compliance mechanisms in place to ensure that users don’t collect footage of children
  • "Ring has no compliance mechanisms in place to prohibit law enforcement from requesting and obtaining footage that does not comply with Ring’s Terms of Service."

To check out Amazon's responses as part of the Markey investigation click here and here

“Ring users place their trust in us to help protect their homes and communities, and we take that responsibility very seriously," said a Ring spokesperson. "Ring does not own or otherwise control users’ videos, and we intentionally designed the Neighbors Portal to ensure that users get to decide whether or not to voluntarily provide their videos to the police. Details about how we work with law enforcement and how we protect user privacy can be found in the following blog post by Jamie Siminoff, Founder of Ring.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.