Police Use Spying Doorbells to Create Digital Neighborhood Watch Networks

By MassPrivateI

It is particularly disturbing given the amount of information sharing going on between state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, and the massive databases with private information being created and maintained by the feds.

It seems like all I have been writing about lately is how police are using cam-share programs to create city-wide surveillance networks.

When I first heard about ‘Ring’ a smart doorbell with a video camera, I didn’t think much of it.

I mean how could the police state turn what appeared to be an innocuous smart device into another surveillance tool?

Enter Amazon, who recently purchased Ring for $1 billion dollars.

Fast forward a few months and Amazon announces that Ring is on a mission to work with law enforcement across the country.

Ring a company on a mission to reduce crime in neighborhoods, today launched the Neighbors app on iOS and Android to provide every neighbor with real-time, local crime and safety information. Previously only available in the Ring app, the Neighbors network already has millions of users and has been instrumental in catching package thieves, stopping burglaries, and keeping neighborhoods safe. Police and sheriff’s departments throughout the U.S. are also joining the network as a new way to share real-time crime and safety alerts with their communities.

For the first time in awhile, I have to admit I did not see this one coming.

Amazon’s doorbell turns ‘neighbors’ into community spies

Police departments across the country are creating spying doorbell networks or as they call them ‘Neighbors’ a digital neighborhood watch program.

Amazon created a ‘Neighbors’ app that allows homeowners to send videos of suspicious people to the police and neighbors.

An article in Motherboard warns, “the app, while presented as a crime-fighting aid, could also be a new place for paranoid people to profile fellow citizens, as similar platforms in the past.”

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Nosy neighbors send videos of suspicious people to the police in real-time.

App users can see recent crime and safety posts uploaded by their neighbors, the Ring team and local law enforcement via an interactive map. If a neighbor notices suspicious activity in their area, they can post their own text, photo or video and alert the community to proactively prevent crime.

Just like New Jersey’s ‘Citizen Virtual Patrol’ program, Amazon’s spying doorbells are turning neighbors into stay-at-home spies!

“A lot of our customer videos are of nice family moments, a curious animal or maybe a stranger on someone’s porch,” Ring’s blog post said.

Think about that the next time you have a BBQ party or invite friends over. (To find out more about virtual block watch programs click here.)

Because nothing says ‘NEIGHBOR’ quite like a spying doorbell.

Police admit ‘Ring’ is an extension of ‘See Something Say Something’

Soon police departments across the country will begin encouraging neighbors to install Ring’s spying doorbells.

A Ring spokesperson told Motherboard“Over the next days and weeks, law enforcement across the U.S. will be joining Neighbors.”

Police chief accidentally admits neighborhood watches are an extension of the police state.

“It’s an increase in the eyes and ears, and I think it’s welcome,” says Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione. “Everybody nationwide is pushing the ‘if you see something, say something’ way of thinking.”

If you have been reading my recent stories about smart city projects, digital neighborhood watches and police cam-share programs, one thing has become crystal clear: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is using them to expand its ‘see something, say something’ way of thinking by creating city-wide surveillance networks. (To find out more about police cam-share programs click here and here.)

You can read more at the MassPrivateI blog, where this article first appeared.

Top image credit: Ring


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