Police Can No Longer Interact With Ring Doorbell Users In This Way

ring doorbell
Zain Murdock
February 5, 2024

87% of people in the U.S. don’t know if smart doorbell companies use their personal data;  93% said they wouldn’t use video doorbells if the companies were collecting and selling that data. 

Still, there’s a simple reason why 10 million people use Amazon’s internet-connected home security Ring cameras: They want to be safe. 

But is Ring safe?

When it comes to knowing who’s at your door, sure. But there’s a price, including hacking risks, third-party trackers, and government privacy concerns. 

And in a win for privacy and anti-policing advocates, a new update is limiting police departments’ use of Ring’s accompanying app, “Neighbors.”

In January 2024, Ring announced the shutdown of Neighbors’ “Request for Assistance” feature, which allowed cops to request and receive the cameras’ videos from users directly in the app. As of 2022, 2,100 law enforcement agencies were on Neighbors. Amazon shared footage with police 11 times without owners’ consent.

Now, the feature is no more. Police can use Neighbors to share updates with users, but that ease of acquiring private footage is gone because they need a warrant. 

Still, this win isn’t the end. People want to feel safe and actually be safe — both in front of and behind the camera.

From surveillance-hungry cops to white supremacist app vigilantes, the “safety” we receive in a dangerous exchange for our privacy is a false hope. We deserve and can create better.