> Officers don’t receive ongoing or live-video access, and homeowners can decline the requests, which Ring sends via email
It's not as if the police are pulling a Batman and watching every ring simultaneously, but instead they can do the digital equivalent of going door-to-door and asking "Hey, did you catch footage of your neighbors house being broken into last night?"
Frankly, I actually trust a bunch of random citizens to have video footage more than I trust any company or government organization.
The result of that is the random citizens won't have much leverage to say no, because the police can likely figure out a way to get the video from Ring directly.
That's quite the legal or technical assumption.
It doesn't seem a reach at all for the FBI or state or local police to ask for or subpoena stored footage.
That's an unfortunate bit of general lack of company accountability to users instead of shareholders, and until we establish stronger digital rights for consumers, won't change, whether it's your ring footage or Grandma's chili recipe in google drive.
I have serious doubts this can't happen with a keystroke if deemed necessary to protect citizens from imminent danger or terrorism. It's cynical but we also thought there was no chance the government was spying on all Americans telecommunications either.
No it doesn't, headlines aren't required to include every detail in the article. That's what the article as a whole is for. Pedantic objections to headlines are not useful or conducive to discussion, since they suggest an element of bad faith in the reporting that isn't present and bias discussion with the untoward accusation.
Also, how might a corrupt officer abuse this system?
How might criminals exploit this system?
How might Ring stuff up, and provide unauthorised access?
How might a secret court demand Ring provide access?
And is it opt-in or opt-out?
A̶ ̶s̶y̶s̶t̶e̶m̶ ̶w̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶p̶o̶l̶i̶c̶e̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶ ̶a̶s̶k̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶a̶m̶e̶r̶a̶ ̶o̶w̶n̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶a̶c̶c̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶p̶e̶c̶i̶f̶i̶c̶ ̶t̶i̶m̶e̶ ̶r̶a̶n̶g̶e̶ ̶w̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶m̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶r̶u̶s̶t̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶n̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶g̶i̶v̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶p̶e̶r̶m̶a̶n̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶a̶c̶c̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶a̶m̶e̶r̶a̶ ̶f̶o̶o̶t̶a̶g̶e̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶l̶i̶m̶i̶t̶s̶.̶
I would also not trust a system recording videos of my life and sending them on remote server that I have not access to.
It's unfortunate for the person involved and the incentives in the system are such that no one is trying to make efficient use of their time. But that's pretty much the way it is.
It's not really that different from being seated on a multi-week jury trial much less a possibly multi-month grand jury.
Many large companies tend to be pretty flexible with respect to things like jury duty. But, to say that even a small business needs to keep paying full salary for someone who is out for weeks or longer (and even if they have to hire a temporary replacement) is probably not realistic.
Per diems for things like jury duty should arguably be higher. But there's no world in which, say, a Silicon Valley software developer is going to be paid their regular daily salary with benefits.
As I wrote elsewhere, it would be nice if everyone involved were more respectful of the time being put in by unpaid or nominally paid participants. But that's no one's priority.
We don't have the American jury system so times in court tend to be way shorter. But non the less. If society here needs my support it is giving back something as well.
Not that in the one case were I was entitled to compensation I ever asked for it. Because I feel it was my civic duty. But then - I am in the lucky position to be able to afford this sentiment.
Anyway, why shouldn't a business of any size continue to pay people? Just treat employee absences as a minor insurable risk, or press for adequate compensation for witnesses and jurors by restructuring the tax system.
Passively accepting bad things guarantees you will get more of them.
Why not? The proportion of people involved in a trial at any given time must be so small that replacing their salaries would be a relatively minor drag on companies if it was distributed well.
I'm not, I'm a random person in possession of a consumer electronics device that might have a video recording of the crime in question. No need for depositions, everything I know is in this MP4 file, and now that I have transferred the file to you, LEO, you know everything I know. Further interrogation will gain you nothing but my contempt.
Forget ballparks, it's not even the same sport.
I've been informed recently that the employer in Germany has to compensate for the leave and will be reimbursed later. This sounds too good to be true though.
The question is, in this particular case, did the camera help identify an otherwise unknown suspect?
In the other case, the camera caught it on a digital format thats accessible by literally anyone living in the 21st century.
Someone has to testify that yes, they installed the camera on X date, yes, the date/time stamp is accurate, yes, it was working the last time they checked, yes, the video in question was recovered, yes, the video was transferred to the prosecutors office, no, the video was not modified to the best of my recollection.
Saying "hey, I have this mp4 that proves the murder" doesn't work in court.
That doesn’t prove where the camera footage was taken. Or who owns it. Lots of unanswered questions that the defense could use to raise doubts about it.
The "issue" in this case is probably that the prosecutor wants to do everything in his power to maximize the probability of a successful prosecution based on the available evidence even if it means taking three weeks of someone's time rather than making do with a simple notarized statement.
And the defense wants to do everything is his power to throw roadblocks in the way of the prosecution even if it means wasting three weeks of some third party's time.
Nowhere are there any incentives to make things efficient for someone if doing so could hurt your case by even a little bit.
You could testify once that this is your camera and here are the mp4 files (and their sha sum). And that would be it.
Equally, technically they didn't see anything as the video caught by the camera could actually be made up.
Imagine if it was you or a loved one that was murdered and a neighbor's camera caught the suspect breaking into the house.
>You could testify once that this is your camera and here are the mp4 files (and their sha sum). And that would be it.
This is just how the rules of evidence work (also equal protection and due process), you can't just submit video, there needs to be testimony to introduce the video into evidence. Further, the defendant has a constitutional right to cross examine the person who introduces the video into evidence.
>Equally, technically they didn't see anything as the video caught by the camera could actually be made up.
Yes, and the Defense will hammer this point home. You didn't see the murder right? If the video actually shows what it alleges to show, the defendant breaking into the home, you have no evidence the defendant actually killed the homeowner right? You have no evidence the defendant even confronted the deceased correct? Of course there are other questions about handling the video and chain of custody, but the obvious being was the video edited (by you or the police after turning it over to them)? Do you have a copy of the original video you turned over to police (is there a difference between the copies, etc...).
As another commented said there is no difference between the video and if you eye-witnessed the suspect entering the home, you would still testify one way or the other (including acknowledging you didn't see the suspect commit the murder and have no knowledge if the suspect committed the murder, its possible someone else could have broke in when you weren't watching, or around back, etc...)
I would like to see the system modified somewhat--in criminal trials everyone has to disclose what they are going to present anyway. The other side should be required to indicate if and in what way they are going to challenge the evidence. If there's no dispute about where the camera is then nobody need be available to testify to where it is. (As it's cloud there's no issue of when.)
Well interestingly this is a major issue in red light camera cases. Initially as cities were implementing red light cameras, the ticket and court case were all essentially automated.
In many jurisdictions this was challenged on multiple grounds, but one of the biggest issues (which most courts tending to agree with) is violation of the defendants rights to cross examine the State's witness and improperly introducing the video into evidence (generally it was introduced by affidavit from some record keeper in the camera company).
Its really a fundamental rights issue.
On the other hand, if the camera doesn't show everything the camera software is in effect testifying--and it comes down to if there are any flaws in the software. The government does not have a good track record on this--breathalyzers inherently are relying on the software and the manufacturers won't permit examination (discovery refused, there goes the DUI case)--so in some places it's been declared unquestionable.
(Never mind that the breathalyzer inherently has a considerable error margin due to biology--the ratio between blood alcohol and breath alcohol varies from person to person. Quick screening test, fine, evidence for conviction--not in my book.)
You can try to opt out by not using Facebook or Ring cameras, but your friends and neighbors opt you in without your permission.
Both sides of the political spectrum are enabling different portions of this pattern.
Red flag laws are mostly used to prevent suicides and domestic violence. They are formal proceedings and due process of law. If the problem is with the law, organize and change it.
They have led to the death of one man in Maryland  and an erroneous confiscation of one man in Florida  so far.
Yeah, family members said he wouldn't hurt anyone. It's very common for family members to side with abusers over victims.
The second, however, is the sort of problem that plague red flag laws.
A number of states involve no due-process prior to confiscation and require you to hire an attorney and file suit if your initial request for return of property are denied.
Having been "red flagged" by a vindictive ex, and in a "Red State" too boot, this is no joke.
Did you know the Stasi was the largest spy organization in modern history? More than 50,000 people worked for them. In a group of 12 people, two to three are often informants.
We've had to ask you multiple times before to stop breaking the site guidelines. If you keep doing it, we're going to have to ban you. I don't want to ban you, so would you please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and post in the intended spirit?
Say you have cameras all over the city, feeding to the local police station. That's helpful in catching criminals, but obviously easy to abuse. Well suppose instead that the DVR in the police station is encrypted and contains a secure enclave. All the camera feeds are E2E encrypted from the camera to the box. The secure enclave in the DVR enforces rules for how the footage can be accessed. It only allows X amount of video footage to leave the box over time. Say watching 4 camera streams continuously or something (in a city of hundreds of cameras).
So a crime occurs; police know the rough time frame and can easily query footage from the box. But mass surveillance, watching all the camera streams, dumping them to an AI cloud for facial recognition tracking of all your movements, etc, isn't possible.
The secure enclave can also enforce logging; anyone viewing the footage submits authentication, creating a permanent paper trail of who viewed what.
There are endless possibilities for the rules we want to establish, but the thrust of my idea is that we can enforce them using that concept of a secure enclave and encrypted footage, so that we can be reasonably sure that the system can't be abused.
Anyway, it's just an interesting idea I had. I'm not really trying to make an argument for or against widespread surveillance like that. Just, if soceity wants it, there are ways to build systems that enforce rules on how those cameras are used. And what Ring offers is kind of in this vein too; allow camera owners to share footage on a case by case basis when requested. I think it'd be even better if Ring footage was encrypted so that Ring actually really couldn't access the footage without your consent.
> We also may disclose personal information about you (1) if we are required to do so by law or legal process (such as a court order or subpoena); (2) in response to requests by government agencies, such as law enforcement authorities; (3) to establish, exercise or defend our legal rights; (4) when we believe disclosure is necessary or appropriate to prevent physical or other harm or financial loss; (5) in connection with an investigation of suspected or actual illegal activity; or (6) otherwise with your consent.
> We reserve the right to transfer any personal information we have about you in the event we sell or transfer all or a portion of our business or assets (including in the event of a merger, acquisition, joint venture, reorganization, divestiture, dissolution or liquidation).
We will disclose your personal information if it benefits us.
Adding more words doesn't strengthen privacy one bit:
We will disclose your personal information to comply with a court order, or to save someone's life, or if it benefits us.
(4) and (5) are the only ones with wording I see as a bit dubious, but I'm not a lawyer and don't know if those are normally required terms.
No. Infractions would have to be prosecuted by the district attorney, who has no interest to get on the bad side of the police because he needs them to be successful.
Consider the case of Arlington police! Arlington cops were in bed with a drug dealer because he supplied the force with steroids. In return for the goodies, the police informed their supplier about the competition. The maximum penalty for improper access of records would be 10 years in prison, but they gave the bent cop just 1 year. It really does wonders to restore trust in the system.
part of the problem is that we naturally conflate (1) knowing and enforcing rules and (2) the use of force. despite the similarity of the words, enforcement doesn't necessarily require direct force. such intertwined subtleties make your entreaty to "institute checks and balances" hard to realize.
and this disjunction is problematic; i think it's better to have a little force spread widely throughout communities, rather than a lot of force concentrated in one sub-group, as its less risk of catastrophic use of force and a more even application all around (more fair). but that's a challenge in the increasingly specialized social groupings (and identities) we live in.
even so, "police" is too much of an identity separate from the society to which they're enjoined. i think policemen/women should be community members first, and enforcers second, not the other way around.
Fellow officers can be a check.
The police internal affairs are a check.
In most cities there is a police board that acts as a check.
The local DA can be a check.
The US Attorney for the state can be a check.
The defense attorney can be a check.
The judge can be a check.
If your issue is that your neighbors are now helping expand the surveillance state by self-installing cameras to allow the police visibility of your home, then it's still a problem. Technically this was always a possibility, but the ease of which the police can now search for and find these cameras to request access to is what makes this scary.
Even worse, as people normalize the use of a surveillance technology (a technology in general, NOT a specific product), eventually it will pass the "in general public use" test created by Kyllo v United States. When that happens, using that technology is no longer a search and thus the police no longer need a warrant to use it. The people normalizing surveillance tech are eroding our future 4th Amendment protection.
(see my previous post about this for references)
I can't tell you how many times I've heard this one since I started on the internet in '97. It's never true.
- get powerful, vocal .gov entity involved in your product as easily/thoroughly as possible while you perform typical statup "disruption" activities
- when any issues with regulation, rights violations etc. come up, immediately "shell out" to your .gov spokeperson who sings your praises and how we cannot touch this entity ("helped catch all these bad guys", "used in xx criminal cases that led to convictions", "would you really want to let someone in your home /without/ one of these?")
- repeat ad nauseum as frustrated citizens complain - "we would LOVE to comply, but... it's no longer just about us, you'd be hindering crime-fighting! so we can't do it"
- you now have impenetrable air cover as any random .gov entity with power will trump citizen outrage
It's completely different. /s
"Ring is owned by Amazon, which bought the firm last year for more than $800 million, financial filings show. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post."
Is "half a square mile wide" supposed to mean a square that's half a mile on each side?
The sides of the square would be sqrt(0.5).
Optionally i can decide to share on a good will basis of course - but this is going to be optional.
In a way this is worse than what China is building since it's distributed.
Is it better if the Government forces surveillance, or if people are duped into buying it for themselves?
Ticks all the boxes: "free" and entertaining element of gaming for the public, good police PR, field data for Ring. Much like the supposed value (and tentacles) of the Red Light Camera industry. Nevermind the constant barrage of ads through Nextdoor and other channels.
Then the HOA said I can't mount cameras outside due to "privacy concerns", a Ring doorbell is the only approved camera.
So now my Ring doorbell captures a full video of everyone walking by my unit.
(Also, if there wasn't a rule against your cameras when you put them up, then you should talk to a lawyer.)
I have a Ring now, which suits my needs to capture anyone stealing packages. I tried to do the right thing by positioning the camera to only capture my property, but oh well, I guess that's not my (or the HOA's) concern.
I have no interest in paying money for a lawyer to argue against the HOA (alienating myself from the HOA board), plus any legal costs that I cause for the HOA is also a cost to me.
Hopefully people become friends with their neighbors before something like this happens so it's not homeowner vs neighbors, but instead homeowner vs overreaching entity. Get your friends/neighbors to see that the HOA is wasting their money on such a petty, overreaching thing. Better yet, get yourself and your friends/neighbors on the HOA board to prevent this kind of stuff.
Please explain why your rights are greater than mine.
I'm not aware of any legislation in the USA that would make a video feed of the exterior view of a property from one's own property illegal.
I believe this is a bad thing. I believe that citizens helping subsidize the creation of an Amazon surveillance product that they then sell to police forces is a bad thing, even if it's legal.
There is no ethical distinction between installing a camera to record, and watching with one's own eyes and remembering what was seen.
We might, perhaps, have an ethical right to be informed when someone is watching us, that we might take reasonable privacy countermeasures if necessary. On the presumption that people may look in as easily as we look out, we typically put blinds and curtains in our windows. It is not so difficult to do similar things with sight-lines around the exterior of buildings. An umbrella here, an awning there, a fence around, planting some bamboo or arborvitaes--the further away the observer, the smaller their potential viewing angles, and the easier it is to block their view in without also blocking your own view out.
While it may be unsettling to think about our neighbors monitoring our comings and goings, it might also be comforting that they would notice any unusual activity around our property, and maybe also take action to interrupt it, or at least report it. If you put up a screen such that no one else can see it when you go in and out of your front door, likewise no one can see it when a housebreaker is patiently picking its lock. So you put up a camera that you control, to monitor your own threshold, and the surveillance/privacy arms race can stop there. Your neighbor can no longer either look out at you, or look out for you.
Yes there is, simply by the fact that you can't stand in multiple places and remember everything all the time. The problem with mass surveillance is the scale.
Are the ethics limited by human capabilities, or by human intent? Or it strictly a matter of outcomes?
One neighbor has a right to record, memorialize, or journalize anything they may observe. The other neighbor has a right to privacy, sometimes.
But that does not include those times when they are out and about in public. If you don't want neighbors tattling on your activities, be somewhere where they can't see you without trespassing. There is a case to be made for a right to pseudo-anonymity in public, to not be gratuitously identified by strangers, but this does not apply to your hypothetical.
Please take a moment to think past obviousness, and consider the non-obvious implications of establishing a right to privacy based on invisible-to-the-human-eye private property lines and the potentially obfuscated ownership or unpublished tenancy rights in those properties.
The only question that needs to be answered is whether the owner of the camera has the right to be where the camera is while it is recording. Opening it up beyond that, to what the camera might be able to capture from there, is a whole new can of worms. That introduces the potential for censorship based on the content of the recordings, a possibility far more unacceptable (to me) than having a relentlessly snitchy, nosy, tattling neighbor.
There is definitely an argument to be made against police being able to use all those shared video feeds without getting explicit permission from a judge, but I believe the doorbell-camera owner has an absolute right to record anything it can see, 24-7, and publish all of it, or none of it, to whomever they choose to share it with, or no one at all, to include turning it over to police. It is not meaningfully different from the nosy old fart that watches everyone in the neighborhood from their front window, and then gossips about what everyone is doing to their friends, who are doing exactly the same thing on their own streets. They can tattle to the cops whenever they like. We have always needed to draw the curtains to keep Peeping Tom and Bertha Busybody at bay. Preventing them from looking anywhere off their own property is not an ethical option. We can restrict the police from acting on those tips without independently verifiable evidence, because the cops are nominally public servants.
And that's where the focus needs to lie. Restrict the cops from even looking at any of those shared feeds without some record of reasonable suspicion.
You have no reasonable expectation of [visual] privacy anywhere that is plainly visible from ground level on the public right-of-way. Erect an opaque privacy barrier if you're worried about snooping cameras. Remember to have the utility lines marked before you dig your post holes.
Anyone, anywhere in the US, is free to photograph or video-record anything they can see, from any place they have a legal right to stand.
If you don't want your emitted photons captured by someone else, capture them yourself before they leave your property.
I can do this by wearing a white or black shirt for example.
If your image sensor can't hang with the big boys, don't bring it to the playground.
Perhaps you could think of people as Part 15 devices, with limits on emitted power and a commitment to not interfere with other users of the spectrum? Your right to flail your fists around wildly stops at the end of my nose.