Amazon’s Ring now asks users to share videos of “neighboring moments” in which fellow community members show good deeds
- With the Buren app, users can now tag videos as ‘neighbor moments’
- Ring wants users to encourage good deeds that are recorded with their cameras in the app
- The tagging function allows users to filter videos that are tagged as “crime” or “suspicious”
Amazon home security company, which owns Amazon, wants its users to be “more close” by sharing candid videos of their fellow citizens doing good deeds.
On Tuesday, the company introduced a ‘neighborhood moment’ category in the company’s app – a tool that usually serves as a method for sharing ‘suspicious’ or apparent criminal behavior that is captured on camera with other Ring users and police.
The category is, as Ring puts it, intended to draw attention to positive acts in the community, such as “cleaning a driveway for a neighbor who is sick” or “securing a delivered package when another neighbor is gone.”
“At Ring, we want to make it even easier for you to share those good deeds with your community,” writes Ring.
“That’s why we are launching” Neighborly Moments, “a new message category in the Neighbors app that lets you emphasize these friendly acts and help your community celebrate them together.”
Amazon’s Ring wants its users to share “neighboring moments” – candid videos of community members doing good deeds
Although users could post those moments before Tuesday in the Neighbors app, with the newest feature they can tag them as a positive example, allowing other users to filter ‘suspicious’ or ‘criminal’ videos.
Although Ring seems to position the function as a way to promote good deeds from neighbors, it also raises privacy questions about what users can and should share through their surveillance cameras.
Videos, even if they reflect positively on a subject, are likely to be recorded and shared without the consent of the person involved.
Given Ring’s already weak relationship with personal privacy, encouragement to share more candid videos of your ignorant neighbors with other app members might be less welcome from the more privacy-conscious among us.
In recent months, Ring has tried to address some privacy concerns by introducing simpler in-app privacy controls – a step that followed disclosures that the company was transferring user data to major technology companies such as Google and Facebook.
Among the data that was exported to those companies were potentially sensitive information, such as private IP addresses and names, which critics undermine the company’s commitment to security.
At the same time, Ring continues to fight the backlash of civil rights groups in connection with its law enforcement partnerships.
Above you see an example of a dashboard that allows users to see which law enforcement authorities Ring is working with
The Buren app allows law enforcement to request video footage from users they think might help them with an investigation.
However, civil rights advocates say that the alliance between Amazon and police has been dangerously opaque and that customers have no clear explanation of how and when law enforcement officers have access to their images.
Similarly, Ring has been scrutinized because of the apparent lack of security measures that have contributed to a number of high-profile attacks in which hackers have gained access to video feeds and microphones.