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Ring prompts users to share videos of ‘neighborly moments’ that show people doing good deeds

Amazon’s Ring is now prompting users to share videos of ‘neighborly moments’ that show fellow community members doing good deeds

  • The Neighbors app now allows users to tag videos as ‘neighborly moments’
  • Ring wants users to boost good deeds captured on their cameras in the app
  • The tagging feature lets users filter out videos tagged as ‘crime’ or ‘suspicious’  

Amazon-owned home surveillance company, Ring, wants its users to be more ‘neighborly’ by sharing candid videos of their fellow citizens committing good deeds.

On Tuesday, the company introduced a ‘neighborly moments’ category to the company’s app – a tool that usually serves as a method for sharing ‘suspicious’ or apparently criminal behavior caught on camera with other Ring users and police.

The category, as Ring puts it, is meant to boost attention to positive deeds in one’s community like ‘cleaning a driveway for a neighbor who is sick’ or ‘securing a delivered package when another neighbor is away.’

‘At Ring, we want to make it even easier for you to share those good deeds with your community,’ writes Ring.

‘That’s why we’re launching “Neighborly Moments,” a new posting category in the Neighbors app that lets you highlight these acts of kindness and help your community celebrate them together.’

Amazon’s Ring wants its users to share ‘neighborly moments’ – candid videos of community members committing good deeds

While users were free to post those moments in the Neighbors app before Tuesday, the newest feature allows them to tag them as a positive example, allowing other users to filter out ‘suspicious’ or ‘crime’ videos.

Though Ring seems to be positioning the feature as a way to promote good deeds from neighbors, it also raises privacy questions on what users can and should share via their home surveillance cameras.

Videos, even if they reflect positively on a subject, are likely recorded and shared without the consent of the person involved.

Given Ring’s already tenuous relation with personal privacy, encouragement in sharing even more candid videos of one’s unwitting neighbors with other app members could be less than welcome from the more privacy-conscious among us.

Ring has worked to tackle some concerns with its privacy throughout the past several months by introducing easier in-app privacy controls – a move that followed revelations that the company was funneling user data to major tech companies like Google and Facebook.  

Among the data being exported to those companies was potentially sensitive information like private IP addresses and names, which critics say undermines the company’s commitment to security.  

Concurrently, Ring continues to battle backlash from civil rights groups over its partnerships with law enforcement.  

Above is a preview of a dashboard that allows users to see which law enforcement agencies Ring has partnerships with

Above is a preview of a dashboard that allows users to see which law enforcement agencies Ring has partnerships with

The Neighbors app allows law enforcement to request video footage from users that they think may assist them in an investigation.

Civil rights advocates say the alliance between Amazon and police has been dangerously opaque, however, and that customers lack a clear explanation of how and when law enforcement are allowed to access their footage.

Likewise, Ring has come under scrutiny for its apparent lack of security measures that have contributed a number of high-profile attacks in which hackers gained access to video feeds and microphones.  



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