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NYPD monitoring video on Amazon Ring’s ‘Neighbors’

NYPD will use platform to facilitate communication, surveillance concerns arise, public advocate asserts right to record police

November 2, 2022 Daniel Cody
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NYPD will now take a peek and listen in on your Ring camera (if you share it), according to a statement put out Wednesday that explained the new collaboration between the NYPD and Ring’s community app, Neighbors, that facilitates interaction between law enforcement and the public.

The cops explained that the app will not be monitored “around the clock” but they will have the capacity to, “view, post and respond to crime- and safety-related information posted publicly by the users of the app” relating to video content posted. The camera feeds of Ring cameras throughout the city. Users on Neighbors can view and share news on the platform, yet it has been criticized for false reporting and harboring racial discrimination.

The NYPD will be posting notifications to the public, with advisories and through the app’s “Request for Assistance” feature.

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“The ability to interact online with New Yorkers – often in real time – adds to the comprehensive crime-fighting strategies already employed by the NYPD in its relentless efforts to keep our city and everyone in it safe,” said Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell in a statement.

“True public safety is a shared responsibility, and this tool stands to further advance the collective work of our police and all the people we serve toward reaching that worthy ideal.”

The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.) condemned the decision of the NYPD, saying that the “public-private surveillance partnership would promote vigilantism, racial profiling and police justice.”

“The NYPD has never been a good neighbor to most New Yorkers, and this move will
only put more people at risk,” said Surveillance Technology Oversight Project
Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn.

Last week, S.T.O.P. called for the halt of Ring cameras altogether after a man and his teenage son allegedly shot a woman in her car seven times after receiving a Ring alert when she dropped a package off at the wrong address.

“This technology isn’t keeping people safe, it’s getting neighbors shot, as we tragically saw last week in Florida. This sort of crowd-sourced surveillance will only lead to more wrongful arrests, racial profiling, and police violence.

“Most New Yorkers would second guess installing these home surveillance tools if they understood how easily these systems could be used against them and their families by police.”

Wednesday afternoon, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams announced a legal filing regarding an ongoing suit against the NYPD and a 2020 law codifying the right to record the police, the Right to Record Act. Patricia Rodney, 61, of Brooklyn, had gone to the 61st Precinct of the NYPD to file a police report about her glucometer, a crucial medical device. She was forcibly detained – and in the process her arm was broken – after she said that she would record the officers in the vestibule of the precinct, a public space.

“I intended and expected that passage of the [Right to Record Act] would supersede the NYPD
No Recording Policy and prohibit police officers from impeding recording in public spaces,
including such spaces within police precincts,” said Public Advocate Williams in his
declaration.

Williams emphasized that recording the police is one of the best ways to hold them accountable.

“…In addition, I envisioned that a more robust protection of a citizen’s right to
record would address past concerns of police violence in our communities by shifting power
differentials between police officers and the communities they police… I also trusted and
continue to believe that the affirmative defenses we placed into the bill struck a balance that
would ensure the safety of police officers, while also ensuring the civil liberties of our fellow
New Yorkers.”


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