Amazon's Ring Planned Neighborhood 'Watch Lists' Built on Facial Recognition

Biddle, Sam
Date Written:  2019-11-26
Publisher:  The Intercept
Year Published:  2019
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23843

Amazon's plan to create proactive "watch lists" based on supposed suspicious activity - including facial recognition software - seen by their Ring cameras should alarm anyone who cares about privacy.



Legal scholars have long criticized the use of governmental watch lists in the United States for their potential to ensnare innocent people without due process. "When corporations create them," said Tajsar, "the dangers are even more stark." As difficult as it can be to obtain answers on the how and why behind a federal blacklist, American tech firms can work with even greater opacity: "Corporations often operate in an environment free from even the most basic regulation, without any transparency, with little oversight into how their products are built and used, and with no regulated mechanism to correct errors," Tajsar said....

The fact remains that anyone moving past a home equipped with Ring cameras is unavoidably sucked into a tech company dragnet, potential fodder for overeager chatter among the suburban xenophobe set. To civil libertarians, privacy scholars, and anyone generally nervous about the prospect of their neighbors forming a collective, artificially intelligent video panopticon maintained by Amazon for unregulated use by police, Ring’s potential consequences for a community are clear.
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