Knock, knock. There’s always someone home when you have a smart doorbell. The safety promised by home security devices such as smart cameras, locks, and doorbells appeals to so many that sales are expected to triple from their 2017 rates by 2022, according to IDC. But security solutions that are designed to provide peace of mind to homeowners might also be making them bad neighbors.
Ring includes with its products access to the Neighbors social-networking app that encourages community surveillance. With plenty of reports of people criminalizing innocent behavior, particularly f minorities, a system that is meant to provide security to some can be a danger to others. Ring has already built a portal for police to access the images from customers’ cameras. The better technology gets, the greater the threat.
Consider that Ring is owned by Amazon, the same company that has pitched Rekognition, its facial-recognition database, to ICE. A visit from a relative or friend who is undocumented could result in their arrest should the two systems be linked. It’s a move that Amazon shareholders have fought, but so far to little avail.
As with any system that can be bent to such purposes, the danger eventually moves to those who initially thought themselves safe from its reach. A report by The Intercept revealed that Ring employees have used the company’s cameras to spy on homeowners themselves.
Convenience, like being able to see when a delivery arrives, comes at a cost. And sometimes it’s more than the retail price of a smart doorbell.
Amazon’s video doorbells are allegedly spying on their owners. pic.twitter.com/DqVVlpGA8p
— PCMag (@PCMag) February 16, 2019