Thirty different civil rights organizations, worried about the effects on privacy, asked Amazon to suspend the partnerships with the police for the use of the videos of the Amazon Ring smart bell, as a surveillance tool.
The associations point the finger at the use of these technologies as tools for surveillance of minorities. The activists turn in particular to mayors and municipal councils, asking for ordinances that put an end to the use of these tools by the police, and lay the groundwork to avoid new agreements of this type in the future, finally asking Amazon itself more transparency on these questions.
As for the specific case, Amazon offers afree app called Neighbors, through which citizens can upload the videos taken from the smart bell on a sort of social network, to which then the police have access with which Amazon has partnered.
However, it is not the first time Amazon has been called into question by the associations regarding privacy and surveillance problems. In the recent past, similar concerns had been raised by another agreement, again with the police, for the use of its facial recognition technologies. After all, without real government supervision there is no clear and defined limit to what companies archive, share or visualize. And if government agencies are included in the equation, concerns are inevitable and it is strange that a country that prohibits commercial collaborations with Chinese companies suspected of collaborating in China's mass surveillance program is not careful about what happens at home. .
Amazon, however, has already replied to the criticisms, claiming that the criminal events have been reduced in the neighborhoods in which Ring is present and presumably the collaborations are in progress. The Seattle giant also said that those of the associations are "categorically false" statements, because citizens actually remain in full control of their devices and videos, shared only on a voluntary basis, and that the free app was developed only in order to strengthen the relationship of trust between citizens and law enforcement agencies.
Amazon Ring is also available in Italy, but there are no agreements with the police, so you can use it without any worries.