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In a move supported by privacy right advocates, Ring is eliminating Request for Assistance (RFA) tool from its Neighbors App, to force law enforcement to file formal legal requests to obtain video from Ring products.

1.26.24 – SSI – Bob Archer – ATLANTA

Ring states that it is eliminating its Request for Assistance (RFA) tool from its Neighbors App, and going forward, police, and other government agencies will have to file formal legal requests to obtain video captured by Amazon Ring products.

Ring, the popular line of video doorbell products from Amazon, will no longer share captured video with police and government agencies through its Neighbors App, according to a CNN report.

The move by Ring to keep that content from local and federal authorities is being hailed as a win for privacy rights advocates. In the story, CNN says police and government officials must now submit a formal legal request to Ring, rather than simply acquiring the video content from the company’s Neighbor’s App in order to obtain video.

Citing information posted by Ring in the company’s annual blog postings on Jan. 24, CNN points out that starting on Jan. 29, police, local, state and federal agencies will no longer be able to request to app users to submit video footage.

“Public safety agencies like fire and police departments can still use the Neighbors app to share helpful safety tips, updates, and community events,” notes CNN in its story.

“On January 31, law enforcement will no longer be able to make new posts asking users to submit footage, though Ring users may continue to respond to existing police requests on the app until February 29, a Ring spokesperson told CNN.”

Ring Moments to Serve as New Content Sharing Tool

In the Ring blog post from Jan. 24, the company states that not only is it changing its policies in how the police and government agencies can use the Neighbors App, it is also introducing some changes to the app.

Ring explains that it has introduced Ring Moments, which is a new way to share, “moments that matter.” This new Neighbors App feature allows users to not only share crime-related videos, but it enables users to share all kinds of content. Soon, the company continues, homeowners will be able to access its new, Best of Ring content, which is says is a curated selection of video that users can scroll through to access.

Ring stresses that just because it is sunsetting its Request for Assistance (RFA) tool, it does not mean that safety agencies, including police, fire and other organizations cannot use the Neighbors App. The company adds that local, state and federal agencies can still use the app to share items such as safety tips, community updates, and community event information, but it emphasizes that going forward, in order to obtain video, law enforcement and other agencies will no longer be able to use the RFA tool.