Partnership could soon give Florida police access to residential cameras with facial recognition

The Tampa-area Hernando County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Amazon-owned security camera maker Ring to enable area residents to upload video to an app to provide police with investigative material or evidence, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Residents can post photos and videos to the free app, where they can be viewed by people within the same geographic area. The partnership with the Sheriff’s Office allows police to view publicly shared media, share information with local residents, and make requests for users to look for and provide footage to assist of specific incidents or places and times. Residents can opt to share footage or decline to, and the Sheriff’s Office still needs permission or a warrant to view material that is not publicly shared.

Officers told the Times that the app could also help conserve police resources, as some calls for suspicious behavior can be handled by neighbors, as in the case of a landscaper or delivery service that can be identified by the resident.

Concerns about Ring’s data privacy have been sparked by a research and development team working for the company in Ukraine accessing an unencrypted archive of all footage from every Ring camera, as reported by the Intercept, and a Washington Post editorial recently reviewed fears about surveillance proportionality.

Amazon acquired Ring last year, and also published a patent for a network of home security cameras with facial recognition capabilities with Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff listed as its inventor.

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