Jamie Siminoff, the founder of Amazon-owned home security company Ring, published a blog today in which he revealed that the company has partnered with 405 law enforcement agencies around the country.
These partnerships give police access to a Law Enforcement Neighborhood portal, an interactive map that shows the approximate location of all Ring cameras in a given town. The portal allows police to request camera footage directly from Ring camera owners. Police do not need a warrant in order to request the footage, but owners must give the police consent before they obtain the footage.
Motherboard has extensively reported about the nature of these partnerships, however, Ring has repeatedly declined to provide Motherboard with the exact number of partnerships it has with police. Ring has similarly declined to provide CNET and Gizmodo with the same information.
The total number of partnerships according to Ring, which is 405 at time of writing, is higher than it was this morning. The Washington Post published a piece today stating that the company has partnered with 401 law enforcement agencies, based on information the publication received from the company.
Ring’s blog post today still leaves us still a great deal of questions about the nature of Ring’s relationships with police and lawmakers. The company has declined to answer several important questions, including:
- The total number of law enforcement partnerships that Ring is currently negotiating.
- The total number of discount agreements that Ring has with cities around the country.
- Whether Ring is pursuing partnerships with state, regional, and federal agencies.
Do you know the answers to these questions? Got a tip about Ring discount programs, police partnerships, or something else? You can contact Caroline Haskins securely on Signal on +1 (785) 813-1084, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Motherboard and other reporters have asked Ring these questions before, and Motherboard asked Ring again for this article. We’ll update this article if we hear back from the company.
Ring partnerships with some police departments, such as that of Lakeland, FL, have included stipulations that contractually require the police department to “encourage adoption” of Ring cameras and Ring’s “neighborhood watch” app, Neighbors. Racial profiling is prevalent on Neighbors.
Other partnerships require the police to promote Ring products implicitly by distributing information about the company on official police channels, which usually download codes for the Neighbors app. All partnerships require police to get all public statements about Ring approved by the company first, as Gizmodo reported. Police are also given a series of scripts by Ring which lay out how police are supposed to talk about the company on Neighbors.
Ring discount programs, meanwhile, involve cities and towns paying the company upwards of $100,000 in taxpayer money in order to subsidize Ring camera purchases for its residents. Ring will match every dollar committed by a city, per the terms of these discount programs. In other words, for every $100 that residents save when buying a Ring product, the city pays $50 and Ring pays $50.