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Fast-growing web of doorbell cams raises privacy fears

Submitted by on July 19, 2019 – 12:02 amNo Comment

Police departments around the country are partnering with the doorbell camera company Ring in an effort to fight crime and create a sort of modern-day neighborhood watch.

But critics say the partnerships raise privacy concerns and turn neighborhoods into places of constant surveillance.

They also say Ring, a subsidiary of Amazon, appears to be marketing its cameras by stirring up fear of crime at a time when it’s actually decreasing.

Ring has an app called Neighbors, which encourages residents to share videos of suspicious activity. Some police departments simply use the app. But others are providing subsidies, matched by Ring, to offer hundreds of discounted cameras to residents.

Ring says sharing video with law enforcement is always voluntary and privacy is protected. But one critic says the subsidies allow Amazon to use taxpayer funds to expand into people’s private lives.