Nov 20, 2019

Amazon details Ring's police ties

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.

Go deeper: Police deals with Amazon's Ring under fire over surveillance concerns

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Civil rights groups push Congress to probe Amazon on privacy issues

A dozen civil rights groups are banding together in an effort to push federal lawmakers to investigate Amazon over its privacy practices.

The big picture: Amazon is already under pressure from antitrust investigations, and it's facing growing scrutiny on the privacy front amid revelations of Ring's work with police agencies as well as concerns about the company's Rekognition facial recognition software.

Go deeperArrowNov 25, 2019

The techlash zeroes in on Amazon

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

On the big shopping days of the year — Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, of course, Prime Day — Amazon once shined with its hyper-efficient apparatus for commerce on full display.

No more. Heightened scrutiny of the consequences of its bigness is beginning to supplant the glowing coverage of its success.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

Amazon faces pressure over Ring privacy and warehouse conditions

A Ring security camera system. Photo: Glenn Chapman/AFP via Getty Images

For retailers, Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday buying season with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in quick succession — but Amazon has some difficult business to deal with before it can start celebrating.

What's new: This week, fresh reports cast further doubts on the company's handling of working conditions at its warehouses and surveillance questions related to its Ring doorbell-cameras.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019