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Security & privacy

Police could access your security camera feed, unless you take this step

For some time now, Amazon’s Ring has been partnering with hundreds of police departments across the country. If a crime occurs near homes with Ring cameras, police can ask to look at video footage from them.

Ring’s surveillance partnership doesn’t exactly sit well with everyone. Some say it’s a form of security overreach. Tap or click to see how many police departments are working with Ring to fight crime.

A new law enforcement program happening in Jackson, Mississippi, might be even more controversial. If users choose to opt-in, police can gain access to live video feeds from private security cameras and video doorbells like Ring when a crime is reported.

A surveillance state we’re helping to build

Over the next 45 days, police in Jackson, Mississippi, will open up what they’re calling the Real Time Crime Center. Under this police-run pilot program, law enforcement can access feeds from private surveillance cameras when a crime has been reported nearby.

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If the 45-day trial is a success and the city chooses to expand the program, residents and businesses can opt to give police access to live streams from their smart home security systems like Ring cameras. The program is voluntary and optional for participants.

Residents installing more security cameras will save the city money and prevent it from spending its budget. Speaking to WLBT-TV, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba clarified that residents and businesses would be able to sign a waiver if they want to grant access to their security systems.

Plus, the use of cameras in residential areas would act as another deterrent to criminals.

This isn’t one of Ring’s official programs or partnerships, either. The trial will be limited to up to five city-owned and five privately-owned security systems at first but may expand if the program is deemed successful.

I don’t want police to access my cameras. What can I do?

In the case of Jackson’s Real Time Crime Center Program, you have to agree to grant law enforcement access to your camera feed. Devices like Ring video doorbells cannot be accessed under the default settings.

Ring does have its own video request program for public safety agencies. After joining Neighbors, agencies may submit a request through the app asking communities to assist investigations by sharing videos.

Users can ignore the request and also change their privacy settings to avoid receiving future requests. We’ll show you how to adjust your settings if you’d rather not participate.

  • Open the Ring app.
  • Open the settings menu by tapping the top left corner of the app.
  • Select Control Center.
  • Slide the toggle next to Video Requests to the left. This turns the feature off.
  • You’ll see a verification message. Tap Yes, Disable Now.

That’s it, the Video Requests feature is now off. Don’t forget that if you post videos publicly on sites like Facebook, law enforcement will be able to see them.

Tap or click here to see if you’re oversharing on social media.

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