Nov 20, 2019 - Technology

Amazon details Ring's police ties

amazon ring

Ring security cameras. Photo: Glenn Chapman/AFP via Getty Images

In separate responses to congressional inquiries released Tuesday, Amazon disclosed the breadth of its Ring subsidiary's partnerships with local police departments, and admitted that it used sales data from third-party products to help decide which products to start selling under its own name.

Why it matters: Both disclosures will give fresh ammunition to the company's critics.

On Ring, in response to an inquiry from Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Amazon noted that it now has partnerships with more than 600 police agencies across the country, with few guide rails on how data from Ring's video doorbells will be used.

  • Markey blasted Amazon's disclosures: "Connected doorbells are well on their way to becoming a mainstay of American households, and the lack of privacy and civil rights protections for innocent residents is nothing short of chilling. Amazon Ring's policies are an open door for privacy and civil liberty violations."

As for the products, Amazon told House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) that it doesn't use data from individual sellers to inform its own product plans, but it does use aggregated data to make such decisions.

The FTC is also said to be looking into Amazon's relationships with its marketplace sellers.

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