It also mentions the potential for police to use the cams to track just where their owners are “in real-time and on a historic basis, which can be used to, among other things, confirm or contradict subject alibis or statements. ” The report compiles several incidents in which so-called internet of things devices—referring to pretty much any device that gathers data and transmits it via the web—were used to establish times of death, discredit alibis, and obtain visuals of suspects.
Amazon has pushed the idea of taking mass surveillance to another level by pairing it with face recognition to enable ominous features like “proactive suspect matching,” though it’s more recently announced a one-year moratorium on face recognition products. Ring has also failed to protect its cameras from being hijacked by hackers (and blamed users for reusing passwords, even though it had failed to implement mandatory two factor authentication).
The FBI warned in a November 2019 bulletin that smart video doorbells, such as Amazon’s Ring or Google’s Nest Hello cameras, could tip off suspects that police are coming for them, according to a Monday report in the Intercept.
Ring has partnered with hundreds of police departments to give them access via its oft-racist, paranoid Neighbors “neighborhood watch” app to community message boards and allow them to request recordings from users rather than go through the process of rubber-stamping a search warrant.
It also doesn’t really tip the balance of how doorbell cams inherently advantage law enforcement at scale: They are increasingly ubiquitous in many places across the country, ensuring more and more interactions are captured by video and allowing police to step up surveillance of communities.
The suspect wasn’t home, but was made aware of the FBI agents’ arrival nonetheless: “Through the Wi-Fi doorbell system, the subject of the warrant remotely viewed the activity at his residence from another location and contacted his neighbor and landlord regarding the FBI’s presence there.
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