ACLU Connecticut fears police could use Ring crime app to ‘spy’ on residents

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(WTNH) — Local police departments in Connecticut are partnering with a 24-7 crime app managed by an Amazon-owned company called Ring.

However, civil liberty advocates are concerned it could allow police to spy on communities. Ring says it’s all an effort to keep communities safe, but the ACLU has concerns not only with this technology but others like it.

“The idea of law enforcement tapping in and commandeering these private, personal surveillance networks is deeply troubling to us,” David McGuire, Executive Director, ACLU Connecticut.

A growing number of Connecticut Police Departments are partnering with the video doorbell company Ring.

Ring’s new neighborhood crime watch app allows police to reach out with the time and location of a crime and Ring sends an alert to residents – asking for video.

But advocates worry the technology could go too far.

“At the end of the day, what this is is police departments deciding that they’re going to tap into a vast private surveillance network without letting the public know about it and we believe that’s deeply problematic.”

Six Connecticut departments and over 400 nationwide have signed on. Wolcott’s Police Chief Edwards Stephens says Ring has helped his department be more efficient and State Police say home surveillance video helps solve crimes.

ACLU Connecticut has been pushing for state laws that require law enforcement to check in with the public and have a public hearing before tapping into such networks.

They say it’s important to ensure people aren’t being spied on without their consent and they say it applies to more than just Ring.

“When police want to bring on surveillance technology they need to get the public’s approval and consent and explain to the public why they need this. That doesn’t seem to be happening with this Ring technology but also other technologies police are bringing on.”

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