US police partnerships with Ring blur line between corporate and government surveillance
In 2016, Jamie Siminoff, the CEO of the miniature security camera company Ring, emailed his employees information them that the company would adopt a new mission to fight crime by using consumer electronics. The company, which Amazon acquired in 2018, sells its cameras with a social app, "Neighbors", which allows customers to watch their own property and share information about alleged criminality and suspicious individuals with the rest of the people on their block. Ring's hyper-connected vigilance has led some US police departments to partner with Ring even though research suggests that Ring's claims that its technology deters crime are questionable. Police have access to the Ring Neighborhoods Portal, which allows police to monitor Neighbors postings categorized as crime-related and will generate a letter to request access to any user whose footage the police want to view. Ring owners must opt in to Neighbors; however, the ACLU argues that the service blurs the line between corporate and government surveillance.
Writer: Sam Biddle