The FBI is worrying that doorbell camera can warn the owners of Police searches

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Harsirat Kaur
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The FBI or Federal Bureau of Investigation is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States of America. FBI is not only aware and cautious of the working of the country, but it always ensures that the citizens are safe. Along with the physical work they do, they are always present through online platforms to connect and spread further awareness. Recently, the FBI warned the nation by stating that the owners of doorbell camera can use the systems for their sake. It said that the owners of doorbell systems like Amazon Ring, which collect the footage of whatever is happening outside their homes, can use it to watch police instead.

The FBI claims that Ring tips owners to evade police
Source: CBC

How does the FBI support their argument?

A 2019 analysis called ‘Internet of things devices likely presents both opportunities and potential challenges for law enforcement investigators‘, which highlights the working of Ring. The analysis states that the Federal Bureau of Investigation could use Ring surveillance footage. However, the main drawback is that sensor and camera-equipped smart home devices also pose a challenge for the investigation. The pieces of equipment can offer an early warning when the police officers are approaching the house for any sort of investigation.

If a guilty person has these systems installed, it gives them a default ticket to flee and evade the police. The owners can also capture “pictures presenting a risk to their present and future safety.”

Though the police know they are hypothetical concerns. However, on July 25, 2017, in New Orleans, Louisiana, it gave them evidence of seeing that such a hypothesis can prove true. The case showed that when agents went to his home, he wasn’t there. He might have seen them approaching through a remote video and contacted a neighbor to clarify. Through the camera, FBI notes, he may have been “able to covertly monitor law enforcement activity.”

The FBI claims that Ring tips owners to evade police
Source: Shouse Law Group

What are the repercussions?

After noticing the claims of the FBI, people fear that their privacy is violated by the owners of these smart devices. Doorbells like the Ring or Google Nest Hello are more mainstream devices. They are now in the controversies to have been used to avoid law enforcement. During a test, Amazon Ring also handed the officials a heat map. It showed concentrations of cameras in one area. The company encouraged users to hand over the footage. But, what if they don’t? What if they use it to save themselves or their loving neighbor?

The FBI is working to provide a more solid response. It is something that they can use for their convenience or the owners can use against them.

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