Amazon-owned MGM makes viral video show with Amazon-owned Ring surveillance footage – TechCrunch
MGM (which is owned by Amazon) is making a viral video show based on footage from Ring security cameras (also owned by Amazon). The syndicated TV show, “Ring Nation,” is set to be a surveillance-tinged modern take on “America’s Funniest Home Videos” with Wanda Sykes as host.
According to a report in Deadline, the show will feature Ring’s footage of “neighbors saving neighbors, marriage proposals, military reunions, and silly animals.” Ring is also notorious for activities such as accidentally leaking people’s home addresses and handing over footage to the government without users’ permission.
Between January and July this year, Amazon shared doorbell images with US authorities 11 times without the device owner’s consent. Ring has been criticized for his work exceptionally closely with at least 2,200 police departments across the United States, allowing police to request video doorbell camera footage from owners through the Ring’s Neighbors app. Like Citizen and Nextdoor, the Neighbors app tracks local crime and allows users to comment anonymously – more, Ring’s police partners can publicly request video footage on the app.
An Amazon-owned police surveillance network is bad enough, but Neighbors users have also faced repeated security issues.
MGM executive Barry Poznick praised the new show: “From the incredible, to the hilarious and uplifting viral moments that are a must-see from across the country every day, Ring Nation offers something for everyone watching at the House.”
But perhaps what viewers at home really want is data privacy.
Ring only began disclosing its ties to law enforcement after responding to requests for transparency from the US government. In a 2019 letter, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) said the company’s dealings with police forces raise civil liberties concerns.
“Integrating Ring’s camera network with law enforcement offices could easily create a surveillance web that places a dangerous burden on people of color and fuels racial anxieties in local communities,” the senator wrote. Markey. “In light of evidence that existing facial recognition technology disproportionately identifies African Americans and Latinos, a product like this has the potential to catalyze racial profiling and harm people of color.”
Amazon bought the smart video doorbell company in 2018 for $1 billion, then bought MGM for $8.5 billion earlier this year. Now, these two investments – which apparently have nothing to do with each other – are merging to create a late-capitalist dystopian spectacular that we could not have imagined in our worst nightmares. Amazon also just spent $1.7 billion on iRobot, maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner, but we dread to imagine how that acquisition could one day inspire a horrifying TV show.