Amazon Home Security- Is home security system Ring turning folks into vigilantes? Some say it is. The company, which Amazon purchased for a whopping $1 billion last February, allows people to police their own homes and neighborhoods. Sounds good, but new research shows it is leading to racial profiling incidents.
Following Amazon’s purchase of Ring, Neighbors, a social media app to be used with Ring security cameras, was launched in May 2018. The app allows Ring users to upload video content straight from your security camera to Neighbors where others can view it.
Amazon’s new social media crime-reporting app has created “a digital ecosystem in which you are encouraged to assume the worst about your neighbors—and people of color are once again being harmed,” Vice reported.
When people “nab” people on Rng, they often post the information on neighbor watch blogs.
“Neighbors defines itself as a ‘new neighborhood watch,’ according to its website. But on a more practical level, Neighbors is like NextDoor, a social platform for local communities, if the posts on NextDoor were only reports of crime or ‘suspicious activity.’ NextDoor has faced long-standing issues of racism on its platform, and Ring faces the same issue. Each Neighbors post has one of the following labels: Crime, Safety, Suspicious, Stranger, or Lost Pet. Ring captures footage that can help lead to arrests when that footage is shared with police, like in the case described above,” Vice reported.
The problem is that such surveillance tends to lead to racial profiling.
“We know from a bunch of high profile incidents in the past, and even when people live in a particular neighborhood, often their white neighbors don’t identify them as neighbors or belonging in those spaces,” Chris Gilliard, a professor of English at Macomb Community College who studies institutional tech policy, told Motherboard. “So there’s a way that Blackness can be seen as foreign, even when you ‘belong.’ And those systems codify that in a way that makes me really uncomfortable.”
The proof of how the app reinforces racism is in the number.