New York, USA - Circa 2018: Ring video doorbell owned by Amazon. manufactures home smart security products allowing homeowners to monitor remotely via smart cell phone app. Illustrative editorial - Image
New York, USA - Circa 2018: Ring video doorbell owned by Amazon. manufactures home smart security products allowing homeowners to monitor remotely via smart cell phone app. Illustrative editorial - Image
PHOTO: Shutterstock
Now playing
02:17
First look: CNN's "The Age of Amazon"
Now playing
01:33
Chuck Schumer announces timeline for Trump impeachment
Registered nurse Irene Musni administers the COVID-19 vaccine into the arm of a senior citizen at the Corona High School gymnasium in the Riverside County city of Corona, California on January 15, 2021, a day after California began offering the coronavirus vaccine to residents 65 and older. - US President-elect Joe Biden was set to announce his Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan Friday as he bids to wrest the focus from the impeachment of Donald Trump to the agenda for his first days in office.
Biden has said he wants 100 million Americans to receive shots during his first 100 days in office, an ambitious goal that would require a big step up in the current pace of distribution. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Registered nurse Irene Musni administers the COVID-19 vaccine into the arm of a senior citizen at the Corona High School gymnasium in the Riverside County city of Corona, California on January 15, 2021, a day after California began offering the coronavirus vaccine to residents 65 and older. - US President-elect Joe Biden was set to announce his Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan Friday as he bids to wrest the focus from the impeachment of Donald Trump to the agenda for his first days in office. Biden has said he wants 100 million Americans to receive shots during his first 100 days in office, an ambitious goal that would require a big step up in the current pace of distribution. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:55
Race to vaccinate before more contagious Covid-19 strains spread
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order as Vice President Kamala Harris looks on during an event on economic crisis in the State Dining Room of the White House January 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden spoke on his administration
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: U.S. President Joe Biden signs an executive order as Vice President Kamala Harris looks on during an event on economic crisis in the State Dining Room of the White House January 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden spoke on his administration's response to the economic crisis that caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and signed two executive orders. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
02:31
Biden zeroes in on the teetering economy in first week
A group of protesters shield themselves from chemical irritants as they demonstrate Wednesday evening, Jan. 20, 2021, outside the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building in Portland, Ore. (Assfault Pirates via AP)
A group of protesters shield themselves from chemical irritants as they demonstrate Wednesday evening, Jan. 20, 2021, outside the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building in Portland, Ore. (Assfault Pirates via AP)
PHOTO: Paul L/AP
Now playing
04:04
Portland protesters explain why they are taking to the streets
Hank Aaron, Milwaukee Braves
Hank Aaron, Milwaukee Braves' outfielder, is shown in a posed batting portrait at the Polo Grounds, Brooklyn, during the exhibition season, 1954. (AP Photo)
PHOTO: AP
Now playing
02:30
Hank Aaron, baseball legend and former home run king, dies at 86
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:23
Schumer says articles of impeachment will be delivered Monday
US President Joe Biden listens to the US National Anthem during the virtual Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service hosted by the Washington National Cathedral, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden listens to the US National Anthem during the virtual Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service hosted by the Washington National Cathedral, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
03:02
Biden unveils Covid-19 plan on first full day in office
Now playing
00:00
Dr. Fauci vows to be 'completely transparent' on Covid-19
Iraqi security forces keep guard the site of a suicide attack in Baghdad, Iraq January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani
Iraqi security forces keep guard the site of a suicide attack in Baghdad, Iraq January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani
PHOTO: Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters
Now playing
02:42
Dozens killed and hundreds injured in Baghdad suicide blasts
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
05:46
Dr. Gupta on Covid-19: This is the worst it's ever been
Now playing
03:04
Avlon: QAnon supporters left desperate and disillusioned
Now playing
03:17
Many believed conspiracy theories about Trump and the election. Now, they're losing faith
PHOTO: Courtesy Owen Harrington
Now playing
04:22
He bonded with Biden over stutter. Then got call to speak at inauguration
US President Joe Biden swears in presidential appointees during a virtual ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, after being sworn in at the US Capitol on January 20, 2021. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden swears in presidential appointees during a virtual ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, after being sworn in at the US Capitol on January 20, 2021. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images
Now playing
01:29
'I'll fire you on the spot': Biden tells staff to treat others with respect
President Joe Biden signs his first executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden signs his first executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
PHOTO: Evan Vucci/AP
Now playing
02:56
Biden signs executive actions aimed at dismantling Trump's policies
Harris
Harris
PHOTO: Senate Tv
Now playing
02:01
A proud Harris smiles as she swears in new senators in her new role
(CNN) —  

The video doorbell company Ring is working with more than 400 US police departments to streamline their access to user videos, the company announced on Wednesday.

Ring, which is owned by Amazon, says the partnerships will allow police to post important safety information and view and comment on public posts to a Ring-operated portal. Police can submit requests for video recordings for certain locations to help with active investigations.

But concerned privacy advocates say the partnerships threaten to create a 24/7 surveillance program.

“It is essentially a widespread CCTV network in which police and Amazon … have access to cameras across the city on everybody’s front doors,” said Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit advocating for civil liberties in the digital world.

As part of Ring’s announcement, the company released an Active Law Enforcement Map that shows 405 police departments that use the Neighbors Portal, which is an extension of Ring’s Neighbors app for police.

Ring released a map of the more than 400 police departments that have forged partnerships with the company.
Ring released a map of the more than 400 police departments that have forged partnerships with the company.
PHOTO: Ring/Google Maps

That tally, first reported in The Washington Post, represents the first time that Ring has released a firm number of police departments.

How the partnerships work

Ring is generally referred to as a “smart” doorbell with a camera pointed outside the front door. It also sends a push alert and video to a resident’s phone when there is movement on the camera.

That video can be posted on the Neighbors app, which functions like a social media site for certain neighborhoods, like NextDoor. The app allows people in a neighborhood to post information and video about area news or possible crime, and Ring says this makes people safer.

“When communities and law enforcement work together, safer neighborhoods can become a reality,” Ring says in an FAQ about its program. “Law enforcement agencies can share important crime and safety information to keep residents informed. Users can also choose to help law enforcement by providing useful information related to active investigations.”

Ring’s growing presence at homes across the country has largely been a boon for police. Two weeks ago, a Ring surveillance camera helped police capture a man who had escaped from Tennessee prison and allegedly killed a prison employee.

In that case, a couple awoke at 3:30 a.m. to a Ring alert saying that a man was on their property. They looked at the camera footage and recognized the man, Curtis Watson, and called police, officials said. Search teams were on the scene in minutes and arrested Watson.

If police use the portal to request video footage from Ring users in a certain area, Ring will email the selected users, the company says. Ring users can choose to share all videos, review the videos, decline the request or unsubscribe from such emails.

Ring emphasized that the Neighbors Portal used by police is designed to protect user privacy. Police do not have access to devices, do not get user account information or device location, and have no direct access to users when making video requests, the company said.

Amazon is particularly interested in the technology as the company tries to stop neighborhood porch thieves who steal package deliveries. The company has filed a patent describing how a network of cameras could work together with facial recognition technology to identify people and respond accordingly.

Guariglia has called Amazon’s Ring “the perfect storm of privacy threats” and said that widespread surveillance video can have a cost.

“(It) stifles free movement and free speech if every house you go to is on camera,” he said.