MGM, owned by Amazon, creates a viral video show using surveillance footage from Amazon-owned Ring
A viral video show is being produced by MGM using footage from Ring security cameras. With Wanda Sykes as host, "Ring Nation" is poised to become a modern-day, surveillance-tinged take on "America's Funniest Home Videos."
There are reports that the show will feature Ring footage of neighborly actions, marriage proposals, military reunions, and silly animals. The ring has also been associated with activities that include accidentally leaking people's home addresses and handing over the footage to the government without their permission.
As of this year, Amazon has provided U.S. authorities with footage from ringing doorbells eleven times without the user's consent. Ring has been criticized for its unusually close relationship with at least 2,200 police departments across the country, which allows police to access video doorbell camera footage from homeowners via Ring's Neighbors app.
As with Citizen and Nextdoor, the Neighbors app tracks local crime and allows users to anonymously provide information. In addition, Ring's police partners can request video footage publicly through the app. There are already serious concerns about Amazon's police surveillance network, but Neighbor users were also subjected to repeated safety and security concerns.
The executive at MGM, Barry Poznick, lauded Ring Nation, saying "From the incredible to the hilarious and inspiring viral moments, Ring Nation offers something for everyone to enjoy." Perhaps, however, what viewers at home are more concerned about is their privacy.
In response to demands for transparency from the U.S. government, Ring started disclosing its connections with law enforcement. Ed Markey (D-MA) stated in a letter in 2019 that the company's relationship with police forces raises civil liberties concerns.
It has been suggested that Ring's network of cameras could easily be integrated with law enforcement offices, creating a surveillance system that could pose a great risk to the safety of people of color and cause racial anxiety in the local community," Sen. Markey wrote.
Considering the fact that current facial recognition technology disproportionately wrongly identifies African Americans and Latinos, such a product may provoke racial profiling and adversely affect people of color."
In 2018, Amazon acquired the smart video doorbell company for $1 billion, and earlier this year, it purchased MGM for $8.5 billion. The two investments, which appear to be unrelated, are now coming together to form a late-capitalist dystopian scenario that could only be imagined in our most horrific nightmares.
A recent acquisition by Amazon of iRobot, maker of the Roomba vacuum, has also generated some buzz, but we will not imagine the horrors that might come as a result of the acquisition.