NEW YORK (PIX11) — If we’ve learned nothing else about Ring video doorbells, it’s that they have the ability to roll on just about everything.
The NYPD announced Wednesday it is acquiring a new tool to help find answers and suspects, by joining the Ring Neighbors app.
NYPD officials said the department will not be monitoring the Neighbors app around the clock but acknowledged they will have the ability to request homeowner Ring video clips.
An important note for Ring users is that the feature is already defaulted for Opt-In. You must go into your settings to deactivate and choose to Opt-Out.
In an apparent attempt to address privacy concerns, Ring told PIX11 News law enforcement “Request for Assistance Posts” were “…built to be limited in scope with strict parameters and policies in place that limit what police can request. Police never have access to customer livestreams, and do not have access to customer information, device location, or videos unless a customer expressly chooses to share that information…”
In light of well-documented accusations against the department’s alleged over-use of video surveillance, privacy advocates are skeptical of the new NYPD-Ring partnership.
Albert Fox Cahn is executive director of STOP, which stands for the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project.
“This is just another example of private surveillance equipment being turned into a policing tool by the NYPD,” Cahn said. “What we do see is people becoming more and more afraid, not because crime goes up, but because they have more images of crime when it does happen.”
The NYPD released the following statement:
“The Department routinely relies upon the public for tips and other information to solve crimes. This is adding another method through which the public can provide assistance to law enforcement. The NYPD will only be able to access content on this platform that has been publicly posted by individual users of Ring/Neighbors.”