Wednesday night, TMZ posted video showing Kelly Oubre Jr. lurching into his apartment following the alleged hit and run incident that took place over the weekend. The video was described as “Ring camera footage” and it ran about 14 seconds before looping:

Naturally, people wonder how TMZ ended up with the footage. Did the police obtain it and leak it? Did Oubre or his wife share it themselves, to sway public perception? Did Russian hackers steal the footage and sell it for one million bazillion rubles?

All valid questions, aside from the Russian hacker thing.

But did you know that Ring is owned by Amazon? I had no clue. In this 2022 article from Vox, Sara Morrison explains this in detail, writing:

Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey revealed on Wednesday — during Amazon’s Prime Day event — that Amazon admitted to sending footage to police without a court order or users’ permission 11 times this year alone. While the number is relatively small, this is also the first time the company has said that it released data this way, according to Politico. It’s also a reminder that if your data is out there and under the control of someone else — Amazon, for instance — you have little or no say over whether law enforcement gets it.

Ring says in its law enforcement guidelines, which are buried in its support documents, that it may send footage to law enforcement in case of emergencies. Ring also sends user data and footage to law enforcement in response to court orders, as does every company that has data for police to get. Amazon recently revealed that it received more than 3,100 legal demands for data in 2021, an increase of 65 percent from the year before. The reports did not say how many of those demands the company provided responses to. While Ring says it tells users if law enforcement requests their information, it may be legally prohibited from doing so. Users were only notified of about 648 requests.

Ring spokesperson Brendan Daley told Recode that Ring doesn’t offer “unfettered access” to customer data to anyone, including law enforcement.

“The law authorizes companies like Ring to provide information to government entities if the company believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person, such as a kidnapping or an attempted murder, requires disclosure without delay,” the spokesperson added. “Ring faithfully applies that legal standard.”

Now to be clear, we’re not saying Amazon took the footage here and gave it to police, who gave it to TMZ. I have no clue. There are several possibilities that are totally plausible. I just think it’s worthy to share this, because a lot people were not aware.. There was a lot of “I thought Ring video was private” being passed around on social media, but it is, indeed, not private. Ring is owned by Amazon, and Amazon can send the footage to police in certain situations.

This is good information to have. And if you don’t know, then now you know.