LAPD Requested Ring Doorbell Footage of BLM Protests

The Los Angeles Police Department requested footage from Ring doorbell owners after Black Lives Matter protests in the city last year, according to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and shared with The Intercept.

The LAPD video requests reference that people were injured during the protests and that property damage was being caused, but the requests were not targeted at a specific crime. Multiple requests were made directly to Ring users, but details about which specific events the LAPD was referring to were redacted in the documents obtained by EFF.

“EFF has long warned that Amazon Ring and other networked home surveillance devices could be used to monitor political activity and protests. Now we have documented proof that our fears were founded,” EFF staffers Matthew Guariglia and Dave Maass wrote.

Ring now has worked with more than 2,000 government agencies, including nearly 1,200 police and fire departments, according to a report from the Financial Times.

OneZero’s Will Oremus wrote in 2019 about Amazon’s ever-expanding surveillance strategy, which encompasses its Echo devices, Ring, and ad tracking technology on the internet.

“Amazon is essentially selling fear,” Chris Gilliard, an English professor at Macomb Community College who studies surveillance, digital privacy, and race, told OneZero for that piece. “They’re selling the idea that a more surveilled society is a safer one.”

In the almost two years since, Amazon has announced everything from flying home security drones to dog surveillance.

Read more about the myriad ways Amazon surveils the public here:

And check out more information about how the LAPD wants to use Ring to surveil protestors on The Intercept:

Senior Writer at OneZero covering surveillance, facial recognition, DIY tech, and artificial intelligence. Previously: Qz, PopSci, and NYTimes.

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