Wired says Ring cameras are racist

Wired zeroed in on the Neighbors app, which allows Ring users to send footage they've captured to law enforcement.

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Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
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For years, Amazon's Ring video doorbell has been touted by tech reviewers as one of the best personal security products available for consumers, but some have claimed otherwise following complaints from activists, citing concerns of "racism." 

Wired, which has long been critical of the Ring system, openly advocates against purchasing it, siding with those who claim that the device and its accompanying Neighbors app have led to racial profiling



"Most of the time, product testing is pretty simple," Wired's recent review began, "however, we occasionally end up with products that can be dangerous to you, or to society in general, which we believe to be the case with Amazon-owned Ring and its relationship with law enforcement."

The author zeroed in on the Neighbors app, which allows Ring users to send footage they've captured to law enforcement, pointing out that most other video doorbells have done away with such features.

"Neighbors increases the possibility of racial profiling," Wired argued, claiming that giving users the ability to share footage of potential crimes "makes it easier for both private citizens and law enforcement agencies to target certain groups for suspicion of crime based on skin color, ethnicity, religion, or country of origin."

Ring has, in recent years, introduced new community guidelines to "reduce the chances of misunderstandings, implicit bias, and profiling," requiring users to only submit reports based on objective actions, not speculation.

For example, reporting someone for "walking to the driver side window of a car and making a transaction" is not permitted, nor is sending footage to the police when someone has opened a screen door to knock on a home's main door.

Wired applauded the changes, but stated that Ring should do more to mitigate potential acts of racism. The review concluded with a brief blurb about the device's hardware, with the author calling it "bulky."

In 2021, a coalition of activist groups penned a joint letter to CNET, Consumer Reports, Digital Trends, TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and Wirecutter, urging tech reviewers to stop recommending Ring. 

"Putting Black lives in danger is part of Amazon Ring’s business model," the group wrote, suggesting the tech giant "weaponizes racist, fear-mongering culture by using racially-coded language and dog whistles to promote Ring products and partnerships."

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Comments

Dean

Gee, wonder why there is racial profiling? I guess the staff at Wired doesn't read the news or watch the nightly news-cast. Thems ain't a lot of 'white supremacists' shown doing the crimes.

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