Amazon's Reality Show for Our Surveillance Dystopia

Amazon's propaganda campaign to normalize surveillance is about to hit a higher gear: a new show featuring videos taken from Ring surveillance cameras.

The show is being produced by MGM Television, which is owned by Amazon, and Big Fish Entertainment, which ran another dystopian reality show: a piece of copaganda called Live PD which centered on commentary of police footage. [...]

Ring's surveillance cameras and surveillance network have been aggressively rolled out by Amazon mainly by cultivating fear in suburbs about crime, and by entering partnerships with police departments to give them unfettered access to surveillance footage. Last year, advocacy groups pushed for Amazon's Ring to be banned entirely by the Federal Trade Commission over concerns its facial surveillance technology could fuel criminalization of Black and brown people in public spaces. [...]

In the wake of the George Floyd uprisings, Live PD was briefly canceled along with Cops though both were revived just this year. And while Cops may be more familiar to some, Live PD was the more popular, more audacious, and more vile of the two by far. [...]

At this point, it is hard to defend ownership of a Ring camera. Using fear-mongering about package theft and suburban crime, a surveillance company has convinced countless homes to affix a surveillance network node that police departments and one of the world's largest monopolies will use to their benefit. And now they want us to laugh about it all in our (ideally) Ring-surveilled homes.

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10 Responses:

  1. mhoye says:

    Really looking forward to that Winston Smith clip where he's trying to touch his toes but keeps screwing it up, and then gets scared as hell when somebody calls him out for it, that was hilarious.

    • Elusis says:

      Well, Amazon does own One Medical now, so presumably your performance of Physical Jerks will be used along with your grocery purchases to set the price of your health insurance.

  2. CSL3 says:

    Between this and Amazon buying iRobot (creator of Roomba), Jeff Bezos now has full schematics of the interiors of millions of homes (via Roomba mapping), the exteriors of those same homes (via Ring), and hours upon hours upon hours of voice recordings of the occupants (Alexa).

    One suddenly imagines Doc Brown saying, "Search warrants? Where we're going, we won't need... search warrants."

    • jwz says:

      If TV caper and cop shows have taught me anything, it's that getting a sweet 3D fly-thru model of anyone's house is easy, so it's hard for me to get worked up about the Roomba thing.

      But my Roomba is of the older, non-mapping, insect-intelligence variety and it appears to be indestructible.

        • jwz says:

          No, that one had a medical incident:
          I got a new one in 2012, but this time I did the only rational and sensible thing and counter-sunk the eyeballs into the bumper, and there has not been a recurrence of that medical incident:
          Anyway, building maps is a complete betrayal of the original Roomba design philosophy.  Rodney Brooks, iRobot's founder, pioneered insectile AI, where the "intelligence" consisted of a series of reactive behaviors with almost no memory, almost a cellular automaton. The idea was: "mosquitos function quite effectively while having barely a hundred transistors to rub together, let's do that."

          Anyway, my Roomba doesn't build a map and doesn't have wifi or bluetooth or even ntp. And I like it that way. Internet of bugs, not internet of shit!

    • Jim says:

      Don't forget the GPS logs of people walking around inside (and out!) with devices permitted to expose that location data. You would agree, wouldn't you, that a point cloud of the people occupying a residence is more monitizable than the geometry of their residence's interior?

    • CSL3 says:
      Oh goodie, now there's this - yet another reason to avoid ever going to Whole Foods:

      (via TechCrunch): Amazon expands Palm-Scanning Tech to 65 more Whole Foods Locations

  3. ContextSans says:

    Ah yes, if America’s Funniest Home Videos became self generating.

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