Why Civil Rights Groups are Pushing Back Against Amazon’s New Show
Amazon’s ‘Ring Nation’ is trying to turn personal data, racism, and harmful neighborhood surveillance into entertainment
MediaJustice and Fight for the Future are leading the campaign to push MGM to cancel the new series Ring Nation, set to premiere on Monday, September 26 on Amazon Prime. The campaign, joined by 40 activist groups, is protesting bad tech behavior, the celebration of the police state, and the ongoing harms of surveillance culture, especially on Black and Brown people. Myaisha Hayes, the campaigns strategies director at MediaJustice puts it bluntly: MediaJustice and their partners “will not stand for a series that mocks and markets the policing of Black and Brown people.”
The “Cancel Ring Nation” petition argues that while Ring Nation looks like a happy, funny, viral blooper show, it’s anything but that. Ring technology is a set of surveillance apparatuses owned by Amazon and happens to partner with over 2,000 local police departments across the United States. Second, the associated Neighbors app hasn’t really stopped crime, but rather increased fear and paranoia. Third, Ring Nation turns our right to privacy into abusive entertainment fodder. Each of these issues raise red flags.
The monopolization of data technologies is not good for consumers
Amazon is an unprecedented conglomeration and mega store. The company doesn’t just sell products, it owns several data capturing technologies like Ring and Roomba. These products capture the data to your identity, your space, and your habits. Amazon is a data reseller and turns your personal information into targeted advertisements.
Ring is one of the most insidious of these data technologies. The Ring technology was originally just a smart doorbell, but in Bezos’ hands has become an integral part of people’s surveillance tendencies. Why have just a doorbell when you can have cameras everywhere! These cameras detect motion, capture video and audio and send alerts directly to your phone.
Like the paranoia of a forgotten oven or iron being left on, the constant alerts to frogs, foxes, and FedEx delivery people…