U.S. Democratic Senator Edward Markey raised his concerns over use of Amazon.com Inc’s Ring, an internet-enabled doorbell camera, in investigations by law enforcement agencies fearing it could affect people of color disproportionately and could encourage people’s profiling on the basis of their race.
In a letter sent to Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos on last Thursday, Markey said sharing of information from Ring’s camera systems at homes with police departments increases the possibilities of putting the people of color in dangerous situations as it could simply build a surveillance network and could fuel racial anxieties in communities where the Ring’s system is working together with the law enforcement departments.
Markey, who is also the ranking member on the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Security, said that he was upset knowing that Ring has been making use of facial recognition technology and Amazon is trying selling its facial recognition technology namely Rekognition to police departments.
Facial recognition technology remained under much of the criticism by different forum for being suspiciously misidentifying people of color. In a study conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2018 on Rekognition, the system incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress to a publically available database of about 25,000 arrest photos, and Markey was also included in those incorrectly matched members of Congress.
Markey cited concerns of civil liberties about numerous passing by people who might have no idea of themselves being filmed by cameras of Ring doorbells.
The internet connected cameras of Ring doorbells are motion sensitive and start recording whenever someone approaches the front door and also send notification to the householder on cell phones.
Ring products provide at-home camera surveillance systems and also a social networking platform called Neighbors, which connects Ring users with each other and allows them to discuss or share videos footages recorded on their cameras.