Ring’s new TV show is a great but ominous viral marketing ploy

Its market dominance is, in no small part, the result of Ring’s efforts, starting in 2016, to cooperation with law enforcement agencies.

At various times, the company provided free cameras to individual employees, as well as entire departments, often in exchange for promoting Ring in the officers’ jurisdictions. For a while, they also provided police partners with a special portal to access community videos — only to stop after extensive media coverage of the process, followed by the outcry from the public. That didn’t stop Ring’s control problems, however; Earlier this summer, in response to a 2019 request for information from Senator Ed Markey, the company admit transferred video content to law enforcement without the consent of the video owner at least 11 times this year.

“Everything Amazon does prioritizes growth, expansion, and reach,” said Chris Gilliard, a visiting scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center and a major critic of surveillance technology. In that sense, “Ring Nation preferably along a continuum… this new initiative looks like an attempt to bolster social acceptance of Ring,” he added.

So now, Gilliard explains, it’s no surprise that the company is turning to a new strategy to further normalize surveillance.

All in good “fun”

These dark sides of surveillance technology will not form part of the Ring Nationof the story. After all, they don’t quite align with the show’s mission to give “friends and family a fun new way to enjoy time together,” as Ring founder Jamie Siminoff put it. in one press statement.

Instead, in a self-reinforcing cycle, the show will dramatically expand the audience for Ring video, the pool of potential Ring video creators, and then (and most importantly) the number of Ring cameras out there in the wild. . And many of these new customers probably won’t think twice about what their new Ring camera is actually doing.

“Ring prides itself on its accessibility, [but] it’s still a technical thing,” explains Guariglia of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “But if you leave your non-technical loved ones in front of the TV all day and they watch the Funniest Home Videos from Ring Cameras, Ring can go viral to audiences that Amazon probably already has. have slower access times.”

In other words, if the company has its way, Ring NationTV show, will bring us one step closer to the Ring Nation IRL.

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