Woodfin PD team up with Ring

By Clint Parker

Woodfin – Surveillance cameras, both public and private, are everywhere, and now Woodfin Police are teaming up with the nationwide home camera company, Ring, to help bust the bad guys and add more surveillance cameras to help police the community!

In a public announcement post on their website, Woodfin Police announced the “new partnership” with Ring that will take place inside the “Neighbors App.” According to the announcement, “This program allows the Woodfin Police Department to request security video directly from community members’ Ring Camera systems. This program also allows the police department to communicate with Ring members who actively post information and/or videos for the forum on the application.”

It goes on to tell citizens how to become part of the Neighbors App and adds, “It is the sincere hope of the Woodfin Police Department to strengthen its community outreach through this collaborative relationship with Ring, and to work more closely with the community to solve crime.”

However, not all who saw the announcement on Facebook thinks giving police access to your private home security cameras is a good idea, as one follower posted a link to an article published by ARS Technica, “a publication devoted to technology.”

Police can get your Ring doorbell footage without a warrant, says the report, “…the company helps police work around a need for search warrants when looking for footage.” The Woodfin Police is just one of hundreds of police departments across the state and nation that is partnering with Ring who, according to the article, “…also gets access to real-time 911 data.”

Ring also confirmed, “…in many jurisdictions, it has access to computer-aided dispatch (CAD) data from the emergency response systems their law enforcement partners use. It uses…[it]…to pull in the address or GPS coordinates of a call, the incident time, and a description of the incident.”

The article goes on to state, “Only certain incidents qualify as newsy enough to get pushed to Neighbors as crimes: burglaries, vehicle break-ins or theft, shots fired or shootings, stabbings, hostages taken, and arson. Other forms of assault, theft of things that aren’t cars, missing persons, rape, crashes, school evacuations, school lockdowns, threats, and dozens of other categories of crime do not make the cut.”

What information is law enforcement able to gather from the Ring devices? According to the article, “The police who partner with Ring also have an app. The law enforcement portal tells cops how many Ring cameras there are in a given area, then lets them request access to users’ footage from a certain timeframe.”

While the article states that Ring “facilitates” requests by police, “‘User consent is required in order for any footage or information to be shared with law enforcement.’ Ring also said that police are not able to see ‘any information related to how many Ring users received a request, who declined to share, or which users opted out of future requests.’”

However, the article also said, “…there seems to be a big, fat workaround… obtained documents showing that Ring advises law enforcement on how to ‘persuade’ users to give up footage.”

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