Amazon acquired Ring final yr for $1 billion in an try to counter Google’s buy of Nest. The firm launched its Neighbors app shortly afterwards, explaining that it might enable customers to experiences suspicious goings-on and report them to regulation enforcement.
However, a number of experiences raised privateness considerations a few mega-corporation teaming with regulation enforcement. Privacy and civil liberties consultants have been notably involved concerning the ease with which police departments might request Ring surveillance movies and not using a warrant.
In mild of proof that current facial recognition expertise disproportionately misidentifies African Americans and Latinos, a product like this has the potential to catalyze racial profiling and hurt folks of colour.
What caught lawmakers’ eyes, nonetheless, was the chance of Amazon marrying its controversial facial recognition expertise with Ring’s surveillance community. Such expertise has proven to be poor at recognizing folks of colour, in a single case misidentifying 26 California lawmakers as criminals.
“I am particularly alarmed to learn that Ring is pursuing facial recognition technology with the potential to flag certain individuals as suspicious based on their biometric information,” wrote Markey. “In light of evidence that existing facial recognition technology disproportionately misidentifies African Americans and Latinos, a product like this has the potential to catalyze racial profiling and harm people of color.”
Markey additionally included a checklist of ten questions, asking which regulation enforcement entities have entry to Ring knowledge, whether or not they share it with others and whether or not Ring consulted with consultants on civil liberties and prison justice earlier than implementing the system. Ring instructed Gizmodo that it is reviewing the letter, however declined to remark additional. The firm has till September 26th to reply.