Amazon is slowly but steadily building a surveillance network. It’s not just building it for itself. It has Alexa for that. It’s building a new one for US law enforcement agencies, free of charge, in exchange for free promotion and future long-term buy-in.
Ring’s doorbell cameras are a consumer device, but many, many people are getting them for free from local PDs. The incentives work for everyone… except for those concerned about privacy.
The police hand out the free cameras to citizens, implicitly suggesting end users could repay their debt to um… society, by providing camera footage on demand. Amazon gives these cameras to PDs for next to nothing, asking only that PDs promote Ring cameras and push camera recipients into downloading Amazon’s snitch app, “Neighbors.”
Amazon’s willingness to tie government agencies into contracts that demand final cut approval on press releases and a certain amount of free publicity blurs the line between public and private. That blurred line, unfortunately, runs right up to the doorsteps of suburban America, converting personal security into police surveillance.