An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Amazon’s home security company Ring has garnered enormous control over the ways in which its law enforcement partners are allowed to portray its products, going as far as to review and even author statements attributed to police in the press, according to emails and documents obtained by Gizmodo. This summer, Ring even urged a Florida police department to delay announcing its partnership with the company for weeks, telling officials that it preferred to keep the spotlight on a separate initiative launched by the city, designed to incentivize the purchase of its home surveillance products.
Because there are already thousands of Ring users in major cities across the U.S., one of Ring’s primary goals in its police partnerships is encouraging existing customers to download Neighbors. To ensure that police stay on message when promoting the app, or answering questions about it, Ring not only provides police departments with talking points but widely seeks to secure contracts that grant it the absolute right to approve all police statements about its services. Contracts and other documents obtained from police departments in three states show that Ring pre-writes almost all of the messages shared by police across social media, and attempts to legally obligate police to give the company final say on all statements about its products, even those shared with the press. (In exchange, police are also given the ability to approve any Ring press releases that directly reference the partnering police agency.) Ring’s so-called “press packets” to partnering agencies include a “Press Release Template,” “Social Media Templates,” and “Key Talking Points,” as well as high-resolution Ring and Neighbors App logos “to incorporate with PR materials as needed.” Furthermore, according to Gizmodo, “the packets are accompanied by instructions dictating that final drafts of public remarks must be sent to Ring so that the company’s PR team can ‘review and sign off’ before they’re sent to local news outlets.”
Motherboard recently reported that Ring has partnered with 200 law enforcement agencies across the U.S.