Privacy Concerns When Police Departments Use Ring Doorbells As “Networked” Crime Fighting Tools

Privacy advocates warn more surveillance will unfairly impact minorities.

Some city police departments are partnering with Amazon to distribute its Ring cameras at a discount to deter crime. While some residents feel the Ring cameras provide personal and neighborhood security, privacy advocates warn that increased surveillance is turning neighborhoods into areas of constant surveillance.

Cities that are subsidizing the cameras do not require anything from homeowners who participate in the subsidies. Also, each homeowner’s identity and data remain private, and Ring-equipped homeowners keep control over who is allowed to view their captured video. No personally identifiable information is shared with police without a user’s consent.

Similar to some complaints nationwide about the neighborhood social networking service Nextdoor, racial profiling involving Ring cameras and their uses is a concern of privacy advocates and advocates against racism. Nextdoor worked on the race factor, introducing a feature that allowed the flagging of posts that involve suspected racial profiling. Nextdoor also edited a change in member guidelines, and introduced a mandatory warning screen as a step before any post is created for the Crime and Safety section.

Also, as part of Nextdoor guidelines when posting in the Crime and Safety section in Nextdoor; if race is a factor in a physical description, multiple other distinctive characteristics are required to accompany a suspicious person’s or criminal offender’s race. Users are also asked to “stop and think” before posting — including asking oneself whether the person is still suspicious if race is taken out of the equation of the observation as part of the “stop and think” process.

See also …
Nextdoor Blog | Reducing Racial Profiling on Nextdoor

Doorbell cameras raise privacy concerns
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