Amid nationwide protests against police abuses of blacks, some civil liberties advocates are calling for Amazon to stop its partnerships with law enforcement agencies through its Ring home surveillance cameras, reports Stateline. “These camera registries will only serve to exacerbate existing forms of discrimination that are rampant within policing and the criminal justice system,” said Evan Greer of Fight for the Future, a civil rights advocacy nonprofit focused on technology. “They speed up and automate police procedures in ways that mean communities that are already overpoliced will be subject to even more law enforcement repression.” Amazon last week placed a one-year moratorium on police use of its facial recognition technology, a move widely viewed as a response to the protests.
Ring did not respond to a request for comment about whether it’s reevaluating its work with police, which includes asking residents to provide video when there’s been a crime. Many law enforcement agencies have adopted a less sophisticated system of camera registries based on information volunteered by residents. The registries, which can be a simple list of addresses, camera placement and contact information, have the potential to expand police surveillance networks. Although the registries are voluntary, anyone who passes in front of a camera could be captured by its watching eyes. That worries Matthew Guariglia of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “When you are constantly looking through the lens of suspicion, through the front door you make snap decisions about who belongs in your community and who does not,” he said. More localities are joining the registry trend. At least 75 police departments and municipalities in 21 states announced programs since 2018.