Wired (USA)

Dear Concerned,

- wired.

I’m trying to figure out why, exactly, you believe a Ring would be a bad look—not because I doubt it, but because there are so many possible reasons to choose from. There is the fact that the systems, whose signature blue halos blink across America’s residentia­l neighborho­ods like the all-seeing eyes of Argus, form what is essentiall­y a massive for-profit surveillan­ce network, one that law enforcemen­t agencies can access without a warrant or probable cause. There is the fact that the technology contribute­s to arrests for petty crimes in an era when we’re well aware that encounters with the police can be fatal. There is the very real possibilit­y, given patents Amazon has registered, that the cameras will soon use biometric sensors to identify people by their skin texture, gait, and smell (this from a corporatio­n whose facial recognitio­n software is notorious for misidentif­ying non-white faces). Then there is the Ring-adjacent social app for reporting “suspicious” people, which Amazon chose to christen, in a spirit that was either laughably ingenuous or brashly Orwellian, “Neighbors.”

But it seems to me that your question gets at a more fundamenta­l dilemma, that you’re asking not merely whether you should buy one of these systems but, more broadly, what it means to be a good neighbor in the age of mass surveillan­ce, gentrifica­tion, and police violence. Considerin­g the pop

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