The Monitoring Association (TMA) has released a statement about a popular video doorbell manufacturer’s sales and distribution strategy which leverages the resources of local U.S. law enforcement to sell and distribute its product and to encourage homeowner enrollment in its proprietary mobile app. Video captured by the residential video doorbell may be accessed and shared by the manufacturer and law enforcement by way of the app and its public safety database. 

According to reports, over 225 law enforcement agencies had contracted with the manufacturer as of April 2019. The agreement offers incentives for law enforcement agencies to sell and distribute the video doorbell device to its neighborhood residents, and in tandem to encourage participation in the manufacturer’s app. The reports note video access and download is only permitted with homeowner consent. The app is marketed as a community safety-enhancing service. 

Upon careful review, TMA has moved to raise awareness regarding these marketing and distribution practices.

“Our mission at The Monitoring Association is to promote and advance professional monitoring to our consumers and first responders through education, advocacy and the creation of standards that take all perspectives into account,” said TMA President Ivan Spector. “We value our partnerships with law enforcement and first responder entities, and our members rely on them to help deliver on our mission. We are troubled by recent reports of agreements that are said to drive product-specific promotion, without alerting consumers about these marketing relationships. This lack of transparency goes against our standards as an industry, diminishes public trust and takes advantage of these public servants. Trust is at the heart of our business, and only by establishing and abiding by clear best practices to be transparent while balancing the various public interests can we effectively navigate these waters.”