Civil Rights Groups Raise Ring Doorbell Privacy Concerns

Dozens of civil rights groups have raised questions about protecting privacy when it comes to the Ring doorbell cameras. They want to make sure law enforcement isn’t overstepping their boundaries.

A number of civil rights groups wrote an open letter, calling on the partnership between police and Ring doorbell cameras to stop. They say the technology makes it too easy for police to conduct surveillance and facial recognition, trampling privacy.

Ring doorbells have helped solve a number of cases, and law enforcement are just calling it another tool in the toolbox.

La Vista Police Chief, Bob Lausten, sees how it may be abused and tells 6 News there are rules they follow.

“My thinking as a citizen what I can do to help the police, I’ll help the police. I really didn’t think about using it for facial recognition or big brother activities. As a police department, we view it more of a partnership. I’m not worried about the information going on somewhere because I have the integrity in our organization about how we would use that information.”

Omaha Police teamed with Amazon's Ring Doorbell service in July. If a crime happened in a neighborhood, officers can ask Ring to send an email to those in the area with the service and request video. Without the homeowner's permission or a court order, investigators would not see the videos.

"We want to make sure we are following all the rules and not violate anyone's privacy or their rights. The information we're able to view is public information," Omaha Police Captain Steve Cerveny tells 6 News.

The civil rights groups would like lawmakers to step in and begin to regulate the cameras and video. A spokesperson for Ring tells 6 News that it does not disclose customer information in response to government demands unless the company is required to do so by the courts.

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