Jackson, MS Police want live, streaming Ring camera video

Jackson, MS Police want live, streaming Ring camera video

While we are all (rightly) watching the election, police agencies and the state are continuing their war on privacy. The Jackson Free Press reported earlier this week that police in Jackson are starting a pilot program to use access live video from Ring doorbell cameras.

This is the logical next step for the national surveillance state. Over 400 police departments across the United States already partner with Ring, promoting the devices to residents and using the Neighbors Portal app to request video from Ring owners. The Jackson PD says that they will still have to request access to the live video.

The cameras don’t just catch what’s happening on the owner’s property. By being pointed at the sidewalk, they will also see people walking or driving by. Jackson Mayor Lumumba told the Free Press police will use access the information “once a crime is reported.” This is a very low threshold for gathering such evidence, as anyone can report a crime. Relying on camera data could lead to innocent people being swept up in investigations simply for walking or driving by a place that a crime occurred.

Ring, which was purchased by Amazon in 2018 for $1 billion, makes doorbell cameras that connect via WiFi, allowing owners to view who’s at their front door via an app on their phone. The video is also accessible in the cloud and can be shared by the owner in the Neighbors app.

Meanwhile, Amazon is laughably trying to distance itself from the program, telling the Electronic Frontier Foundation they “are not involved in any way with any of the companies or the city in connection with the pilot program.” It’s Amazon’s technology that’s enabling this program: if they somehow didn’t foresee how it would be used to increase surveillance, that’s on them for putting profit first and not considering the privacy aspects of the program. Instead, it’s much more likely that they’re holding off on taking credit to see how it’s perceived by the public.