Amazon’s Doorbell Security System: Friend or Foe?
Households across the world are purchasing ‘Ring,’ a sleek looking, multi-functional security system disguised as a doorbell. The doorbell keeps watch through a system of contact and motion sensors, capturing video and sending alerts to the homeowner’s phone, and if necessary, a third-party monitoring service. Ring’s mission and long-term vision is simple: to protect and make neighborhoods safer. Sounds good, right? But like with most innovative technology today, there’s a catch.
The system, despite all its virtues, may not only be a complete violation of personal privacy but an ignition of unnecessary anxiety and fear. Ring and by extension, Amazon has partnered with police departments across the nation to promote the product through fear-mongering, exaggerated claims, and hijacked footage. By receiving a notification for nearby motion, every delivery person or harmless neighbor becomes a potential criminal. The system grants police access to Ring’s “Law Enforcement Neighborhood Portal” which contains your home location, personal information, and all collected video and audio recordings. What’s worse is that the police (and Amazon) not only have complete access to your footage, they can control and disseminate it as they see fit. Amazon has been harvesting and sharing people’s faces as well as their comings and goings, posting them alongside criminal accusations with absolutely no proof.
Why would they do that? To sell more cameras. But, how can they do that? While it’s invasive and terrifying, according to their terms of service, Ring and its licensees have “an unlimited, irrevocable, fully-paid, and royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide right to re-use, distribute store, delete, translate, copy, modify, display, sell, create derivative works,” in relation to the footage taken from your front door.
Don’t like the idea of having your face, your behavior and that of your neighbors held in a massive network of police surveillance data? Neither do we. We suggest looking into other security measures that won’t profit from and exploit your information.