A couple weeks ago I shared news that Amazon is requiring police to promote its Ring surveillance cameras. Not that bad, I thought, because at least the police had to have the owner’s permission. But I was optimistic, because Amazon is giving police talking points on how to persuade owners, and even seizing the video footage if the owner said no.
As reported by GovTech on Friday, police can request Ring camera footage directly from Amazon, even if a Ring customer denies to provide police with the footage. It’s a workaround that allows police to essentially “subpoena” anything captured on Ring cameras.
Things like government surveillance and hacking are precisely why I will never buy smart home products. Update: A Ring spokesperson emailed me a correction: The reports that police can obtain any video from a Ring doorbell within 60 days is false. Ring will not release customer information in response to government demands without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Ring objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.
As part of a secret agreement, Amazon requires that police “encourage adoption” of its Ring doorbell surveillance cameras.
Dozens of police departments around the country have partnered with Ring, but until now, the exact terms of these partnerships have remained unknown. A signed memorandum of understanding between Ring and the police department of Lakeland, Florida, and emails obtained via a public records request, show that Ring is using local police as a de facto advertising firm. Police are contractually required to “Engage the Lakeland community with outreach efforts on the platform to encourage adoption of the platform/app.”
The Ring Alarm DIY home security system is available for pre-order now and ships at the beginning of July.
Ring—which Amazon acquired in February—makes a smart doorbell that has a camera connected to Wi-Fi.
Apple released macOS 10.13.4 this week and, well, it changes some things. No worries, your two favorite geeks talk through it all. Then it’s on to managing duplicate contacts and properly migrating your data. There are other questions, too, as well as a few other Quick Tips and some Cool Stuff(s) Found. Press play and enjoy!
John F. Braun and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet CES 2018 in Las Vegas to look at how Apple’s HomePod is a big topic this year, plus they share more cool products they’ve found.
LAS VEGAS – Ring, maker of video doorbells and security cams, added an entire home security kit to its lineup today. The US$199 Ring Alarm Home Security System starter bundle includes a keypad, Base Station (with siren), motion sensor, and door/window sensor. Additional motion and door/window sensors can be added to the system, of course. On its own, the Ring Alarm will send alerts to your iPhone, but it can also be paired with an optional professional monitoring service and cellular backup service for $10/month. The nice part is, if you’re comfortable doing your own monitoring with your iPhone, you don’t need to ever pay a monthly fee. Just set the Ring Alarm system up, connect it to your Wi-Fi, and let it do its thing and alert you when something is awry. The Ring Alarm system will be available coming in 2018.