Ring is working with cops so old white people can better report minorities
Ring wants you to use their Neighbors app to report suspicious activity to others.
Ring, the smart doorbell company acquired by Amazon this year for over $1 billion, recently launched its Neighbors app to allow people to report suspicious activity, but will it really be used for good?
In a world where minorities get reported for sleeping and sitting in Starbucks, this app has issues written all over it. Yes, in very, very basic theory it could be used for good, but I fear it will be used as yet another way to profile a large portion of our country. The Neighbors app, at this time, uses the Ring doorbell and camera to monitor your space, even giving police in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando access to the platform, which draws its own set of issues.
The Neighbors app is kind of like a digital Neighborhood Watch app. In a statement, the company better explains what it is for:
In addition to receiving push notifications about potential security issues, app users can see recent crime and safety posts uploaded by their neighbors, the Ring team and local law enforcement via an interactive map. If a neighbor notices suspicious activity in their area, they can post their own text, photo or video and alert the community to proactively prevent crime.
As a spokesperson tells Motherboard,
Law enforcement can view the publicly available content in the Neighbors app and request content from Neighbors in a certain area, date range and time frame where an incident may have occurred.
We should mention that this system can be used for good, and there is nothing saying that everyone using Neighbors won’t be outstanding citizens in the face of profiling people that are different from them, but history shows that we’re just not very good at that. Thankfully, if the police want access to an individual’s footage, it will still require a formal request and case number.
What do you think? Is the Neighbors app a good thing? Could it be a good thing? Let us know in the comments below.