No one likes to have their property stolen, and many people have turned to Amazon's Ring cameras to keep a watchful eye over their homes and hopefully catch criminals in the act. Last month Amazon was looking for a "Managing Editor" to work within Ring to manage a team of news editors who would deliver breaking crime alerts to neighbors using Ring footage and devices. That crime reporting service appears to have been implemented as Ring has started to share videos of people suspected of a crime.
Ring has recently used video captured by its doorbell cameras in Facebook advertisements asking users to identify and call the police on a woman suspected of a crime in Mountain View, California. In the video, the woman's face is clearly visible, and while there is no obvious criminal activity taking place, the woman can be seen passing between two cars and pulling door handles.
The video in the Facebook sponsored post freezes on the woman's face, and Ring shows text that states, "If you recognize this woman, please contact the Mountain View Police Department … please share with your neighbors." Ring urges residents of Mountain View to call the police if they recognize the woman. The post can be seen in the Tweet below.
is it legal for ring/amazon to use faces of people, suspected BY THEIR CUSTOMERS to have done crimes, in an advertisement? especially given they havent consented or been convicted or anything. seems uhhh not right pic.twitter.com/a6SnOGT5dl
— jonhendrenPeaceful (@fart) June 4, 2019
The issue some are taking with these ads is that the woman is only "suspected" of a crime and that Ring is pasting her face up in advertisements on Facebook leading some to wonder about the legality of the practice. Law enforcement routinely seeks help from local news stations with video of suspects that they are seeking for questioning for past crimes. What Ring is doing seems to be similar, albeit there is a financial motivation behind its actions as well -- it is trying to sell a product, after all. With that being said, the police department investigating the case is happy that Ring is helping out. Ring does note that it gets the explicit consent of the Ring customer who recorded the footage before it is posted online.