The Ring Neighbors app is making changes to its public safety guidelines, with agencies like police and fire departments soon being limited to what they can request access to. This is in regards to user video clips taken by the Ring camera owners in the app.
Starting next week, requests by public safety agencies for video or information will be limited to public posts that are in the main feed of the Ring Neighbors app. Public agencies cannot send a private email to Ring device owners for a video clip. This means that the Video Requests feature in the Neighbors app will no longer be available.
This change will provide more transparency in the hopes of making communities safer. In addition, all requests can now be reviewed by anyone using the app on the public safety agency’s profile. On top of this, these agencies cannot remove or delete posts. They can however mark the request as “resolved.”
There are specific guidelines in place to prevent overarching broad requests. For example, each post must include a valid case number and agency contact information. The time frame has a 12-hour limit, and geographical area limits are between 0.025 and .05 miles.
The Ring Neighbors app will offer more transparency for requests to improve safety and privacy
Prior to the new policy, law enforcement agencies were able to send direct private emails to Ring camera owners who lived in an area of active investigation to request footage.
Owners then could approve or deny the request. The app does have a feature to blanket deny any and all requests for footage. However, the request via private email was not publicly available for review and this is now changing.
With the new policy, a Neighbors user, Ring device owner, or both – have total control over their experience. There’s no footage sharing with any agency unless users actively choose to do so. In addition, the posts can be removed from the Neighbors feed entirely.
If a user chooses to respond to a Request for Assistance post, they can click on the link in the post to share videos privately and securely, or contact the agency directly with the provided contact information.
The Neighbors app has been quite controversial for some time now. There is some criticism that the app helps amplify mundane issues.
There are even allegations of police departments using video clips from the app to harass minorities. The Neighbors app is a separate app from Ring’s main app, and is similar in nature to neighborhood social network like Nextdoor.