Amazon’s syndicated Ring Nation series will feature videos taken from Americans’ Ring doorbells and other smart home cameras, a concept that even left-wing politicians and activists are slamming as “dystopian” and “surveillance” television.
Left-wing comedian Wanda Sykes will be hosting the series, produced by Amazon subsidiary MGM Television, which is expected to feature clips such as “neighbors saving neighbors, marriage proposals, military reunions, and silly animals,” according to a report by Deadline.
Comment what you think scared Zack. 👇 pic.twitter.com/CYiYSEZ0km
— Ring (@ring) August 25, 2022
But Ring Nation is being denounced as surveillance-state TV by the tech press, activists, and members of Congress.
“This is no America’s Funniest Home Videos,” senator Ed Markey (D-MA) told The told Hollywood Reporter. “Amazon appears to be producing an outright advertisement for its own Ring products and masking it as entertainment.”
“The Ring platform has too often made over-policing and over-surveillance a real and pressing problem for America’s neighborhoods, and attempts to normalize these problems are no laughing matter,” the senator continued.
“Amazon must focus instead on making strong safety and accountability commitments to Ring users and ensure that neighbors aren’t robbed of their privacy and civil liberties,” Markey added.
Vasudha Desikhan, a political director at the left-leaning think tank Action Center on Race & the Economy, said Ring Nation is proof of why “we need to regulate Amazon’s monopoly power.”
“This ecosystem allows them to use all of their different lines of business in ways to only further their market dominance,” Desikhan added.
Chad Marlow, senior policy counsel with the left-wing, pro-abortion organization American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), echoed those sentiments, pointing out that “sometimes what’s right and what’s ethical doesn’t line up with what’s legal” — a reality that pro-life activists know all too well.
“One person’s funny can be another person’s embarrassing or intrusion of privacy,” Marlow added. “This device was sold to homeowners for security devices. Now it’s also for a national laugh?”
The series, which will premiere on September 26, will reportedly only feature footage that has been consensually shared by its rightful owners.
“Ring Nation secures permissions for each video from the owner and anyone identifiable in the video or from companies that hold the rights to the clips,” a spokesperson for MGM Television told Hollywood Reporter.
So if one is concerned about content from their smart home camera being taken without their consent, no need to worry, as Amazon is only known to share users’ footage with police and has yet to be caught sharing it with a production company for entertainment purposes.
In July, it was reported that Amazon provided Ring doorbell footage to law enforcement 11 times this year without users’ permission.
Moreover, Amazon Ring doorbells may begin using biometric data to spy on neighborhoods, as the tech giant recently filed a patent that suggests its doorbell cameras may soon be able to identify “suspicious” people by scanning their skin texture, walking style, and voice.
In 2020, a software engineer for Amazon called for the immediate shutdown of the company’s Ring security camera business, stating the privacy issues the company has faced are “not fixable.”