Amazon’s Ring Planned Neighborhood “Watch Lists” Built on Facial Recognition
by Sam Biddle
Posted December 29, 2019
Once known only for its line of internet-connected doorbell cameras marketed to the geekily cautious, Ring has quickly turned into an icon of unsettling privatized surveillance. The Los Angeles company, now owned by Amazon, has been buffeted this year by reports of lax internal security, problematic law enforcement partnerships, and an overall blurring of the boundaries between public policing and private-sector engineering. Earlier this year, The Intercept published video of a special online portal Ring built so that police could access customer footage, as well as internal company emails about what Ring’s CEO described as the company’s war on “dirtbag criminals that steal our packages and rob our houses.”
Previous reporting by The Intercept and The Information revealed that Ring has at times struggled to make facial recognition work, instead relying on remote workers from Ring’s Ukraine office to manually “tag” people and objects found in customer video feeds. The automated approach to watch-listing described in the documents reviewed by The Intercept may seem less unsettling than that human-based approach, but it potentially allows for a litany of its own problems, like false positives and other forms of algorithmic bias.
Anyone moving past a home equipped with Ring cameras is unavoidably sucked into a tech company dragnet, potential fodder for overeager chatter among the suburban xenophobe set. More…
Amazon’s Ring camera network is working closely with law enforcement to essentially massively expand surveillance of US citizens.
The government is somewhat limited by the Constitution when it comes to spying on US citizens. Corporations do not have that resistant barrier. Consider the consequences of allowing corporation spy on Americans and provide the data to law enforcement allowing them to effectively by pass Constitutional protections.