Amazon is facing a public backlash after announcing that its Ring doorbell is launching a TV show in the States which peers into the nation’s homes, with detractors accusing it of perpetuating mass surveillance.
Amazon has invited homeowners to share the best of their supposedly secure footage on national TV – throwing out whatever tact they had for quelling the privacy concerns of the company’s surveillance product.
The security product has been at the centre of a privacy and societal debate since it was launched, so it’s unsurprising that critics are calling out the new show as an attempt to normalise corporate surveillance.
Fearful citizens have already been known to slam owners of products like Ring as “participants in the surveillance state” and “voyeurs”.
Ring Nation is being created by MGM Television, Ring and Big Fish Entertainment.
The Ring TV show is described in a press release as a “daily dose of life’s unpredictable, heartwarming and hilarious viral videos”.
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Wanda Sykes, popular stand-up US comedian, has already been signed as a presenter on the show. Her job will be to riff through commentary of entertaining Ring camera footage.
Jamie Siminoff, Ring founder and Ring Nation executive producer, said: “Bringing the new community together is core to our mission at Ring, and Ring Nation gives friends and family a fun new way to enjoy time with one another.”
Ring TV already faces public backlash
The backlash online is inevitably very messy. In some cases, people believe the show is just a shallow attempt for Amazon to flog more Ring doorbells.
In darker criticisms, however, people have slammed the show as a further indication that society is allowing itself to be watched and controlled by the state – all for a bit of clout.
“I guess ‘the all-seeing eye of Bezos’ was taken,” said one Twitter user.
Another wrote: “Do not get chill about pervasive surveillance tech being normalised just because there’s a tv show!”
Amazon has rolled out surveillance technology for years now – and faced a wall of criticism as a result.
It was leaked last year that Amazon’s new robot, Astro, would be able to integrate with Ring and detect intruders.
“[Astro is] a three-wheeled robot that’s less android buddy, more RoboCop if he ran the local neighbourhood watch,” as WIRED’s Jack Needham put it at the time.
But Amazon is not the only company looking for homeowners to install watchful technology.
A whole load of Silicon Valley is also now involved in surveillance and has seen the profits to be made in offering a variety of goods and services that are all rooted in watching people, VICE reports.
Ring Nation is due to broadcast in syndication on September 26th.
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