Amazon’s Ring is the largest civilian surveillance network the US has ever seen

One in 10 US police departments can now access videos from millions of privately owned home security cameras without a warrant

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Guardian: In a 2020 letter to management, Max Eliaser, an Amazon software engineer, said Ring is “simply not compatible with a free society”. We should take his claim seriously.

Ring video doorbells, Amazon’s signature home security product, pose a serious threat to a free and democratic society. Not only is Ring’s surveillance network spreading rapidly, it is extending the reach of law enforcement into private property and expanding the surveillance of everyday life. What’s more, once Ring users agree to release video content to law enforcement, there is no way to revoke access and few limitations on how that content can be used, stored, and with whom it can be shared.

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Ring is effectively building the largest corporate-owned, civilian-installed surveillance network that the US has ever seen. An estimated 400,000 Ring devices were sold in December 2019 alone, and that was before the across-the-board boom in online retail sales during the pandemic. Amazon is cagey about how many Ring cameras are active at any one point in time, but estimates drawn from Amazon’s sales data place yearly sales in the hundreds of millions. The always-on video surveillance network extends even further when you consider the millions of users on Ring’s affiliated crime reporting app, Neighbors, which allows people to upload content from Ring and non-Ring devices.

Then there’s this: since Amazon bought Ring in 2018, it has brokered more than 1,800 partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, who can request recorded video content from Ring users without a warrant. That is, in as little as three years, Ring connected around one in 10 police departments across the US with the ability to access recorded content from millions of privately owned home security cameras. These partnerships are growing at an alarming rate.  read more, no pay wall…

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/18/amazon-ring-largest-civilian-surveillance-network-us

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1 COMMENT

  1. I have a Scandinavian businessman friend who much prefers the four state-run surveillance systems, because ha can go and check how he has been snooped (for the most part). While in Scandinavia, a lot of commercial companies and banks spy on his every commercial move and also some physical movements. Now we see that such operations as those by Amazon also include selling those data to the police: They have complainesd about surveillance in Mainland China only because of envy and because they did not commercialize this 1984 system first.

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