Native Civil Rights Advocates Increase Alarm Over Burgeoning Variety of Residence Surveillance Cameras – Pasadena Now

The suspect, shown in a ring video above, was arrested by police less than a day after the alleged attempt to break into a house. The homeowner later said: “[police] were amazed at how clear the video quality was and how such a tool resulted in the arrest of an offender. “(Video courtesy of

Pasadena Police say concerns raised in the national media that law enforcement agencies are deliberately circumventing the fourth amendment – the right not to be searched or items confiscated without a legal warrant – because they are not properly accessing video from here in Pasadena Surveillance cameras received are unfounded.

The subject came into the national spotlight after Lauren Bridges, Ph.D. The University of Pennsylvania candidate told The Guardian that one in ten police departments across the country have access to video from civil cameras after Amazon Ring reportedly worked with more than 1,800 local law enforcement agencies.

“Ring video doorbells, Amazon’s trademark for home security, pose a serious threat to a free and democratic society,” Bridges wrote in an opinion piece published in The Guardian. “Not only is Ring’s surveillance network expanding rapidly, it is also extending the reach of law enforcement to private property and expanding everyday surveillance.”

However, a Pasadena police spokesman said the Pasadena Police Department is not participating in the Amazon Law Enforcement video-sharing program.

“In order for detectives to legally obtain the video, either a court order (i.e. a search warrant) is required or the resident can volunteer the video to detectives,” said Lt. William Grisafe.

According to Grisafe, community members’ ring cameras and other similar home security camera systems have recorded videos relevant to cases of criminal activity being investigated by Pasadena detectives.

Bridges said even if a Ring user agrees to the local police force, the videos are essentially “some form of no-guarantee surveillance.”

Bridges told Pasadena Now that “the Ring user is not the only person recorded on these video recordings.”

“It will be your neighbors, everyone who walks by, everyone who walks through the area of ​​the camera – everyone in the living area will then be captured and recorded,” said Bridges. “And that could potentially be turned over to law enforcement without that person’s consent.”

Community activists have raised concerns about data collection against color communities.

“This sounds like just another mechanism for profiling and targeting blacks and color communities,” said local activist Patrice Marshall McKenzie. “I am very concerned about the consistent collection of data and evidence, as well as the parameters for which that information can be used in a detrimental way to humans.”

The neighbor app uses addresses to create a radius around houses. When someone in the app shares an alert about crime or security in that area, ring owners will receive a notification. Subscribers can then comment on the alerts to provide additional information on local issues, tips on how to avoid affected areas, and share photos or videos to keep neighbors on guard.

However, according to Mohammad Tajsar, senior attorney for the ACLU in Southern California and a resident of Pasadena, the technology poses a major threat to privacy.

“The ring is one of the most popular companies among a growing number of private sector companies that are taking advantage of people’s fears of crime and crime and making tons of money by distributing surveillance products to ordinary people as well as police stations across the country. And we fear that this will create a widespread, massive private but publicly accessible surveillance network in our communities and neighborhoods. “

According to Eric Kuhn, general manager of the Neighbors app, Ring encrypts videos by default when they are uploaded to the cloud (while in transit) and stored on AWS servers (at rest).

Video recording is optional and available if the customer wants to save their videos to view at a later time.

“Ring will automatically delete user videos based on our subscription plans. Customers can choose how long their Ring videos should be stored in the cloud directly in the Control Center in the Ring app. Customers can delete their videos (individual videos or all of their footage history) at any time by logging into their account on the Ring app or on Ring will not record or store video for customers without a subscription. “

With Amazon, customers can now opt out of receiving notifications from law enforcement agencies who may be looking for video footage to ring the doorbell to solve a crime near your home.

According to a January report in The Verge, all states except Montana and Wyoming have police or fire departments participating in Amazon’s ring network.

According to this report, according to Ring, more than 1,189 departments joined the program in 2020, a total of 2,014. That’s a significant increase from 703 departments in 2019 and only 40 in 2018.

Bridges said she believed ring was a departure from previous surveillance technologies.

“The fact that it is now entering living spaces. You know, a lot of people talk about having our phones in their pockets as surveillance devices or ubiquitous cameras on light poles. The difference from the Amazon Ring program, however, is that they are installed by civilians. Civilians own the cameras. So just ordinary people. Through the program and partnership that Ring has with law enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies can then request users to access recorded content. Now the users retain the rights, they reserve the right to consent to these records, give them access to law enforcement agencies and allow them access. “

Corporate security cameras have long captured people entering businesses, and local transit also captures passengers.

In 2016 ring materials resulted in the arrest of a suspect who attempted to break into a home in Olympia, Washington. In this case, around 4 a.m., a man went to the porch and tried to gain access to DJ McDonel’s house while he slept in it and was being filmed by the video doorbell.

After the suspect called the police and posted the information online, he was arrested within a day.

After the news of the incident spread, people asked McDonel what the doorbell was.

In Wilmington, North Carolina Police successfully arrested a 53-year-old suspect on suspicion of break and intrusion, post-break and intrusion theft, and bicycle theft in 2019 after a Ring customer posted a video of the suspect on the Neighbors app had the property wandering around him. Within an hour, officers were able to identify, locate and arrest the suspect.

The day after the arrest, the Wilmington Police Department announced, according to WWAY News, that they are partnering with the Neighbors app.

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