Ring, the maker of internet-connected video doorbells and security cameras, said in its latest transparency report that it turned over a record amount of doorbell footage and other information to U.S. authorities last year.
The Amazon-owned company said in two biannual reports covering 2021 that it received 3,147 legal demands, an increase of about 65% on the year earlier, up from about 1,900 legal demands in 2020.
More than 85% of the legal demands processed were by way of court-issued search warrants, allowing Ring to turn over both information about a Ring user and video footage from those accounts. Ring said it turned over user content in response to about four out of 10 demands it received during the year.
Transparency reports allow U.S. companies to disclose the number of legal law orders they are given over a particular time period, often six-months or a year. But Ring has been criticized for having unusually cozy relationships with about 2,200 police departments around the United States, latest figures show, allowing police to request video doorbell camera footage from homeowners.
Ring said it also notified 648 users during the year that their user information had been requested by law enforcement. According to its law enforcement guidelines, Ring notifies users before disclosing their user information, such as name, address, email address and billing information, unless it is prohibited by way of a secrecy order.
In a new breakout, Ring also revealed it received 2,774 preservation orders, which allow police departments and law enforcement agencies to ask Amazon — not demand — to preserve a user's account for up to six months to allow the requesting agency to gather enough information to a court-issued order, such as a search warrant.
Amazon executive Brian Huseman told lawmakers in a letter published Wednesday that Ring shared doorbell footage at least 11 times with U.S. authorities so far in 2022 without the consent of the device's owner, reports Politico. According to the letter, Amazon said it "made a good-faith determination that there was an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to a person requiring disclosure of information without delay." Under emergency disclosure orders, companies can respond with data when a requesting agency doesn't have the time to obtain a court order.
Ring has not yet revealed how many times it has disclosed user data under emergency circumstances in previous years, including its most recent transparency report.