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Revealed: The Secret Scripts Amazon Gives to Cops to Promote Ring Surveillance Cameras

Published: August 9, 2019
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Documents obtained by Motherboard reveal that Ring provides 46 standardized comments that cops can post on social media, and several documents with scripted responses to possible questions from the public.

Ring, Amazon’s home surveillance company, has partnered with at least 225law enforcement agencies around the country. As reported by Gizmodo, a crucial aspect of these partnerships is a PR arrangement: everything that police departments and individual officers say about Ring has to first be approved by Ring.

According to documents and emails obtained by Motherboard, Ring aims to control not just press releases and announcements, but statements designed to be spoken aloud and posted on social media platforms such as Neighbors, Ring’s “neighborhood watch” app.

Motherboard has obtained documents from the Topeka, KS police department showing that Ring made a spreadsheet with 46 standardized comments that cops can post on social media. A Ring spokesperson told Motherboard that the spreadsheet is intended to be reference material for police interacting with residents on Neighbors. The sample police comments encourage users to share camera footage with police, call and email police officers, and encourage friends to download Neighbors.

Some of the 46 standardized responses include:

  • Good Afternoon, I’m sorry to see that you were victimized and that you have waited so long to hear back from a detective. Could you please email me your name, case number, and telephone number to [EMAIL]? I would like to reach out to my counterpart in the [DEPARTMENT] to check on the status of your case. In the meantime, we may also have someone visit your home to conduct a no-cost security survey, if you are interested.
  • Can you share your video as well? If not on this forum you can send it to [EMAIL]
  • Thank you everyone for your tips. A warrant has been issued for Bob Jones, 31 years of age, last known address in Los Angeles. If you know the whereabouts of Mr. Jones, please contact [NAME]. Thank you.

Several sample responses explicitly advertise Ring products:

“It is apparent that the [AGENCY] has partnered up with Ring to utilize their digital neighborhoods app, but, it should be noted that this app operates with any brand digital camera system that is able to upload video,” one sample response reads. “Ring does offer both the door bell and flood light options, however, my suggestion is to research camera devices that can accommodate your security needs.”

It is unclear whether, and to what extent, police departments are using Ring’s suggested response guide. In an email to Motherboard, a Topeka Police Department spokesperson said that the police department received the file from Ring, but said that it has “not used it as a guide” when interacting with residents on social media.

Page 1 of a document obtained from the Topeka Police Department.

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