The Ringification of Suburban Life

from Wired

Across the US, consumers are canvassing their communities with a new type of device that’s changing civic life. Camera-equipped doorbells and other home surveillance devices, made by companies like Ring, are documenting facets of suburban existence that once went unnoticed.

For years, citizens have used smartphones to monitor their neighborhoods, especially instances of police misconduct or abuse. But pointing a smartphone at authorities is an active choice. Homeowners use cameras and their ilk to passively monitor their neighborhoods and each other. Instead of capturing the moments citizens intentionally choose to record, Ring cameras log whatever may happen in front of them. And local news outlets are happily passing it along.

Around two months ago, I set up a Google Alert to track mentions of Ring in the press. I expected primarily to receive news about the surveillance company’s flourishing relationship with law enforcement. Ring, which Amazon acquired last year for over $830 million, has partnered with over 400 police departments in the US to date. In exchange for promoting Ring’s devices and its associated crime watch app Neighbors, cops are given access to a portal where they can ask citizens for footage from their cameras that may be connected to a crime without a warrant. The arrangements have come under growing scrutiny in recent months, as reporters and activists have criticized their lack of transparency and potential for privacy abuses. Public records obtained by journalists also show that Ring tightly controls how police officials can portray its dealings with the company.

As the daily Google reports began flowing into my inbox, however, I was surprised to learn that like police, local journalists have found their own purpose for Ring videos: making content. Reporters—especially those working on the internet—have long mined social media sites to inform their stories. And locals news outlets have always relied on citizens to share photos and videos of events that take place in the area. But Ring cameras, which are motion-activated and can detect activity up to 30 feet away, generate reams of videos from a suburbia that is more heavily surveilled than ever before, even as crime rates reach historic lows.

More here.

, , , ,

26 Responses to The Ringification of Suburban Life

  1. Emily Rodger October 25, 2019 at 4:41 pm #

    Technology has taken over society’s lives. Almost everything revolves around the use of technology. As mentioned in the article, even doorbells have become technologically advanced. I will admit that even my house as a Ring doorbell. At first, when my dad bought it I thought that it was quite creepy that he could basically “spy” on anything we are doing within the proximity of the Ring doorbell. On the other hand, the Ring doorbell does have many beneficial uses as stated in the article. The main reason why my family decided to purchase the Ring doorbell is to make sure everything at home was fine in the case we were not there. The doorbell also prevents crime from occurring. Even if it cannot prevent these occurrences, the camera can catch the image of whoever committed the crime. I believe that there are more beneficial pros of this technological advancement than there are cons. Although it may seem that the camera is violating the publics’ privacy, the main usage for it is to catch any instances of crime. In the area I live in, there have been many instances of packages being stolen and cars being broken into. This doorbell can help identify suspects in the case that no one is home. As said in the article, there have been many occurrences that the video footage was used more for media content. These instances I do not agree with because the media is using footage of people without their consent. The only main reason I find the camera valuable would be for police reports to catch any instances of crime.

    • Christopher Bagnell November 7, 2019 at 2:37 pm #

      With new technology, there are always positives and negatives. The Ring tech that is put on people’s doorsteps is just another way technology is being put into aspects of homes that were not thought of that much in the past. Google has the nest thermostat, which allows people to control their temperature in their house electronically so they don’t have to walk up to a thermostat and turn it. This door bell was originally intended so that someone could let someone in their house without having to go to the door and unlocking it, simply by looking at the camera feed. Now, this technology is being used in association with stopping crimes. It can record based on movement rom up to 30 feet away. This can be used by police forces with owner’s permission to find out details about a crime that took place. Th only problem is, they can ask for it without a warrant. Even though they own the product, it is still a device connected to a company, like amazon, who has partnered with over 400 police departments in an attempt to prevent crime in suburban areas. This could become a problem in the future with people concerned about privacy. Especially since police can access this data, that means that there are most likely bad people and criminals that can access this data too, and figure out when people leave their homes and how to get around the camera. Leaving them with the perfect heist to rob someone’s home all thanks to what they bought to protect them.

  2. Jess N October 28, 2019 at 12:05 am #

    Immediately the first issue that comes to my mind with this article is privacy. This story says that many of these Ring recording devices, like the doorbell cameras can record activity up to 30 feet away. At what point is that considered an invasion of privacy for neighbors across the street who didn’t consent to being videotaped, or a kid playing in their own front yard then turned into a cute social media post without their parents ever knowing that video of their kid is out on the internet, or a deliveryman driving down the street just doing their job now being recorded by any number of doorbell cameras. While there are surely rules in place as to what you can and can’t do with these videos, there’s still the knowledge that other people could have videos of you you would never know about, that they technically could do anything with. I agree that these cameras are a tremendous asset for law enforcement as body cams or for people in neighborhoods where porch pirates are a big issue, the potential for abuse is something I think is only going to grow in terms of an invasion of privacy on someone else’s private property.

    We also have to consider, with these cameras, who technically owns the right to use what on the video that is recorded with them. An individual homeowner generally doesn’t know every facet of privacy law when it comes to their cameras and what they record (that’s what lawyers are for). The reality is that most people just don’t know better, and these products allow them to invade the privacy of their neighbors and others who may not even know they’re being recorded. It’s a serious issue that isn’t getting proper awareness, in my opinion, especially considering the popularity and use of this technology is ballooning. The article also mentions Ring taking footage from customer’s camera devices to create their own content with. Do they have access and the right to use any material gathered on their cameras for commercial purpose? Even if the people in the background of that footage don’t know they’ve been recorded and monetized by a company they may have never even heard of?

  3. nicole shubaderov October 29, 2019 at 1:30 am #

    When referring to the company Ring, cameras are always a great safety measure to have when owning a home. I remember pulling up my laptop one night and watching Shark Tank and how the creator of Ring fought hard for the sharks to invest in his product. No deal was made, but clearly, Ring was a hit with the public because they now have billions of dollars in net worth. Although I agree that cameras have revolutionized the way that we do things in life—such as being able to see who has visited our home or to see crimes around the neighborhood—there are still negative impacts from the cameras that Ring sells, and it does hinder the true benefit of the products.

    Initially, when referring to Ring, I think of the company that sells cameras. Cameras are good for monitoring what goes around the property and it makes sure that all is good. When things go wrong that is when the user could be notified of strange behavior. The benefit of the camera could be to help someone. Such as if a person was hit by a car and the Ring camera recorded the indecent. Or if there were a robbery and the camera was able to record what the people looked like or what their get-away vehicle looked like. This could prevent a lot of investigation on the part of the victim and the police officers, therefore allowing sources to go elsewhere. Although this is good, cops may get surveillance from these Ring devices without a warrant. This is a breach of privacy and is going against our rights as U.S. citizens. It is unfair for us to not have notification of when our Rings are being accessed for the taking of such videos, but I feel that a warrant and notification to the user should be required when doing so. It is not fair to the Ring owner to have his/her device be basically hacked without permission by the officers. But, even with these consequences, this device has been able to help people who may not be home and can see tornadoes or other stormy activity destroy their house and such. It keeps homeowners notified of when things are happening around the house, and that is something that I find is important nowadays. Anything that can help better the feeling of security within a household is something that should be invested in. But the whole privacy breach thing is unsettling and does cause me to dislike this community networking type of system that Ring has.

    Now, regarding the neighborhood networking system that Ring has. This allows homeowners in the same neighborhood to post funny videos or videos of concern to their neighborhood chat to let everyone know if something bad/good is happening. Although many of these instances could be a raccoon walking around the front lawn or a deer pronouncing around the street, these videos could help neighborhoods stay safe from criminals, rapists and other bad people wishing to cause damage to the residents of that neighborhood. Although this sounds like a great idea, the owners of each Ring has the power to label suspects as suspicious in neighborhoods. Many times, this may backfire. An example is when about a week ago from Twitter when I read some girl’s tweet about her parents and their Ring device. What happened was that the girl with a Ring device on her house borrowed her friend’s umbrella and the girl told her friend that she will leave it on the porch so that she could pick it up without needing to go into the house. What failed was the fact that the girl who’s family owns the Ring device did not know that the friend was coming and noticed that some random girl stole an umbrella form their porch from the video surveillance. Therefore, the Ring owners decided to post the video and label the girl in the video as a suspicious person in the neighborhood. Many people commented on the video saying things such as “who would steal an umbrella”, “people are getting too low to steal umbrellas” and stuff like that. Therefore, these Ring devices and giving people the power to comment and post such videos may lead to many harmful misunderstandings—such as labeling the poor girl who just wanted her umbrella back as a suspicious person of interest in the neighborhood. But they could also be used for fame, such as when animals do silly things, or the Ring camera catches an entire family slipping on ice during the winter season.

    Although I am not against having devices from Ring, I would just wish that they were more secure in its protection from random privacy breaches. Also, I would hope that Ring makes some changes to prevent the abuse of Ring for fame and the wrongful labeling of individuals as suspects. This is basically impossible since it is opinion based on whether or not someone is suspicious. But, giving this power to everyday people is dangerous and needs to be closely monitored. Personally, I know the privacy breach is major, but I feel that I would buy one for my house. And the reason is funny because my family doesn’t have cameras or anything monitoring the outside of our property, but we recently had an incident where someone cut down a tree on our front lawn. So, it would have been helpful to have a camera and to see who it did as well as notifying my neighbors to watch out for strange people cutting down lawn trees. Overall it is opinion based on whether or not you fully like Ring. And even if I am not completely sold on Ring, cameras are important in this technological age. Therefore, it is inevitable that more people will start using such technologies to protect their homes and families. Thus, it is in the company’s best interest to try and perfect such systems and to reduce as many flaws form them as possible.

  4. Wyatt Slone October 29, 2019 at 7:10 pm #

    Surveillance cameras are a tricky area to draw strict barriers and boundaries for rules and regulations. I agree with the point that Louise brings up, which is ‘what content is free to be used when cameras turn on randomly by an innocent passersby that then turns into viral content by media sources?’ Who consented that material, is it legal to take footage that was not intentional and blast it out on social media platforms?
    Technology has become so hyper aware of people and faces that it has become bordered the line of a breech of our own identities. Jennifer Garner, the actress, recently has forbid her young daughter to starting any social media account like Instagram because she is too young to formulate what exactly she enjoys viewing. Media is constantly taking our images or blasting new ones out at us to be influenced by what we should be thinking and liking. I believe in the next few years the pendulum of how much social media influences our society will decrease and many will abandon platforms altogether and move to only texting and using the internet for educational purposes.
    Louise brings up a good point about the police gaining access to motion sensored cameras. So far communities have not complained about police tampering with footage that could be vital evidence to swing cases. However, with how our society works, perhaps we do not know that is even happening yet. Police and government could be hiding vital information that we do not know but since they have access to our cameras databases they could have just erased harddrives and moved forward.
    Now while swinging very anti-surveillance cameras, I personally find they help out with many situations. With the little girl Louise mentions with the puppy at four in the morning, I find that is important information to share because that little girl could have undiagnosed night terrors or is prone to sleepwalking. By sharing the video, guardians of the child could question the little girl and perhaps monitor her. Our cameras could also help catch sex traffickers who lurk through inner city neighborhoods looking for women and girls who are found themselves walking alone at night.
    I am eager to see what happens in the next few years with surveillance cameras and their popularity, since they have just became a big fad. Perhaps people will decide that the less they know, the better? Ignorance sometimes really is bliss.

  5. Alyssa Bromke October 30, 2019 at 12:01 pm #

    I want to start out by saying I was thoroughly invested in what this article had to say. I love the idea of a smart home. I think that it will make life easier as time goes along and has many other benefits. One of the benefits of having technology, such as a Ring, is the crime deterrence, as well as, surveillance. This article gives many instances in which a Ring has captured crimes such as stolen mail or a shooting. I think that this technology is proving to be very beneficial with little negative aspects. Some of the negative aspects I can think of is people getting wrongly placed on watch lists and getting notifications everytime someone walks in front of your door. And even those issues can be managed.
    Laws can be made as to posting recordings saved online. For example, if someone were to walk up to your door and not do anything illegal you must have their approval to be able to post this video online. If said person has done something illegal on tape then you have the ability to post it, as to make others aware of a criminal. But you can post the silly things that involve animals or videos of people with permission.
    I also think this could be more beneficial, given more related laws of usage, to make this feed available to the police. I think that there could be more criminals caught if there are police officers able to get into the feeds. That could possibly, depending on the amount of smart doorbells in the area, replace cops at posts in smaller low risk neighborhoods. This would obviously have to be reviewed for ways that this could infringe on basic rights but it could help lower the crime rate and the amount of time police spend out on rounds.
    Smart technology can be very useful in the future but we have to protect ourselves with laws that would encroach on our basic rights. I think that as technology develops so must we. In the industrial revolution, if factories and even technology in homes did not upgrade they would be living in a completely different, inefficient world. I never think people should shy away from new technologies but with the right precautions it can make life easier not harder.

  6. Tiffany Lyn October 31, 2019 at 5:03 pm #

    More and more homes are being equipped with consumer surveillance cameras. It’s a security measure people make to feel safe and protect their home when they are not present. Ring’s devices passively record around the clock and capture children playing on their front lawn, mail carriers delivering packages, animals navigating suburbia, etc. I don’t see an issue with a family installing a Ring doorbell and having their own child being recorded because those can serve as childhood home videos. Mail carriers being recorded is also not an issue because they are entering another person’s property to deliver mail. It is similar to being recorded by a security camera when we enter a local convenience store. An issue does arise when people share videos of other people without their knowledge. It may not seem like a serious matter but sharing videos of someone without their consent to media outlets is a breach of privacy. Ring using their consumers recordings for ads without their knowledge is also a breach of privacy which makes me think Ring is not trustworthy. There are other alternatives to Ring like Nest or ADT surveillance cameras. These cameras are used to monitor the home and also deter crime. In urban communities especially like Jersey City, many packages are stolen off people’s front steps during the holiday season. I babysit in a home where the family has a few security cameras and they receive cellular notifications when entry doors open, and the doorbell is rung. Most people install security systems to protect their families. Although crime rates are at a historical low, bizarre occurrences are not a rarity. Ring doorbells are also great for people who travel for work. If I was traveling out of state every other week for work, I’d need a way to monitor my home. As time progresses every aspect of our lives will be overtaken by tech. Adequate security no longer means locking the front door and asking your neighbor to keep an eye on your home while you’re on vacation. Home security is advancing and the bumps in the road are privacy concerns.

  7. Javier Tovar November 1, 2019 at 1:52 pm #

    Camera-equipped doorbells are definite life changing as they become more popular in our communities. I personally don’t have a doorbell with a camera installed in it, but they are still very fascinating, and I completely understand why people are falling in love with the idea. However, why not just install a regular security camera system that can cover the whole house? The answer to this is that these camera equipped doorbells are much less expensive than other cameras. Many of the cameras on the market range from 200 to well over 2,000 dollars while your average camera-equipped doorbell can be purchased for 100 dollars. Therefore, do I think that there will be a huge increase of homes with these doorbell cameras? 100 percent I do.
    They will dominate neighborhoods like no other surveillance system out there. Amazon’s Ring camera has already partnered with 400 police departments. The camera and its watch app called Neighbors gives police access to a portal where they can request footage from citizens’ cameras that may be connected to a crime without a warrant. There has been huge controversy over many issues that come with this. Issues that the company is being scrutinized for includes the lack of transparency it brings and the huge potential for privacy abuse. Ring also has control over how the police force portrays its dealings with the company.
    Reporters are using ring for content to feature in their material. Many encounters on the ring camera that are mostly used by news channels includes footage of animals and other light-hearted situations. I personally recall watching one where a husband is singing to his wife who was viewing the recording from work. It was very heartwarming to watch. Even though the cameras aren’t made for this purpose many people clip the videos and post elsewhere.
    The cameras were made to prevent and detect crime which they have done well; crimes rates are at an all-time low not just due to the cameras, but they definitely aid to that enormous statistic. Now your local wannabe criminal can’t attempt to steal a car or package without risking being seen by these new cameras. The complications of privacy are huge, and these new cameras run by Amazon or google

  8. Mia Ferrante November 1, 2019 at 8:58 pm #

    Camera-equipped doorbells and other home surveillance devices are becoming more popular in today’s society to have a better awareness of what goes on in and around your home while your asleep or not at home. Over the summer my family invested in a video surveillance camera that detects any motion and sends a notification to your phone for you to view it. I do not live in a suburban area, however, it serves as a safety precaution against people and even animals. One thing that I learned through having a surveillance camera is that there is a lot that happens when you are not home or sleeping. It makes me feel safer, but I could go without knowing every little detail about what goes on while I am sleeping. The doorbell camera “Ring” is becoming more and more popular among suburban areas. Even if it’s not necessarily used only to protect your own home it can detect motion that happens in front of your house. I know that surveillance cameras such as “Ring” are using the footage to report crimes such as burglary and car theft and police departments are able to use the footage to catch the criminals. If home surveillance continues to become more popular it also has the ability to lower crime rates such as car theft and burglary because once more people are aware that they are being watched, they are less likely to actually commit the crime. If a crime were to actually be committed, having it on camera could lessen the time it takes to identify the suspect and shorten the time of the trial because all the evidence would be gathered beforehand. This also connects to a plethora of privacy questions that arise once these cameras become more known. In a household that lies in a suburban area, the cameras have the ability to record your neighbor’s properties and they might not be alright with that happening. Also, for in-home surveillance cameras, there is a chance the camera system can be hacked and people you don’t even know will be able to watch your everyday life.

  9. Steven Evans November 2, 2019 at 6:44 pm #

    The ability of law enforcement to use doorbell cameras is a huge legal and ethical dilemma. Traditionally, police must get a warrant under most circumstances in order to investigate a private residence. Now police have teamed up with Ring to be able to use the cameras even without a warrant! This seems highly illegal to me. Although I believe it would be a very helpful tool to law enforcement, and I wouldn’t mind it being used at my house if I had Ring, I still think it is a loophole around the warrant. Technically a loophole doesn’t make something illegal, but it can still be highly unethical and lower the standards of law enforcement.

    I do think that the Ring device is a very useful tool. It can help homeowners feel protected, and they can monitor their front porch 24/7 if they wish to. This will likely decrease crime once people know what Ring is. If they know there is a camera there, they will likely not commit a crime they initially intended to (such as steal a box from the front step, steal a bike from the lawn, or attempt to break into the house).

    On the other hand, it will be strange to always have the possibility of being recorded somewhere. Privacy seems harder and harder to come by in a world filled with security cameras. There needs to be a balance between feeling safe and losing privacy, and every day companies are pushing the boundaries of privacy.

  10. Megan Cannon November 3, 2019 at 3:07 pm #

    As someone who owns the Ring doorbell, I can tell you that it is one of the best purchases I’ve made for my home. I have two children, and had worked night shift in the past, so having that sense of a “security blanket” and peace of mind is nice to me. Occasionally, you get the cars that drive by, or the people walking, but just having that extra security to me is worth every penny.
    One thing I found interesting from this article was the point how law enforcement have been taped with it, especially the case from Philadelphia. With the city being so close to my house, it is definitely a scary thought that these things happen, and happen often at that. I think the Ring, while not intending to record, actually helped in this case when it came to that particular time. There have been cases even with my own doorbell that my neighbors have asked if we had gotten any footage, because they know we have it. While our camera doesn’t face to their house, it can pick up a certain range of motion while recording.
    Along with the Ring app comes the “neighbors” app. This is helpful because the app has members that are posting things that are happening near you. I think with the change in technology and the access that we have to it as homeowners, this is a game changer. A few years ago, the home security systems that were being sold on the market were expensive, and were monitored by other people. With the Ring, you have access on your phone and can check it at any time. Overall, I think this is a game changer, and Im curious to see what other products come out on the market like this.

  11. Maeve Lersch November 3, 2019 at 9:10 pm #

    The issue at the heart of this article is about privacy and whose right it is to the videos recorded by devices such as the Ring doorbell. According to the company the purpose of the devices are to capture any criminal activity to help reduce, but much more is being captured. Personally, I have a hard time with this concept because I do not see how the company could only capture intended videos such as criminal activity while not getting anything else. The company has said that they have added features that allow the customer to customize the range that the monitor gets recorded to help with this issue which I think is a step in the right direction but does not solve the problem.
    Furthermore, I like the idea of helping reduce crime, but I think the Neighborhood app goes against laws about privacy and the process of the law. The app allows law enforcement to obtain videos that may be linked to crime which in theory sounds like a good idea; however, police do not have to get a warrant to view the videos and use them in any sort of investigation. I believe this goes against the process of the law which could potentially lead down a slippery slope so to say. The article cites that people are questioning the app because of its “lack of transparency and potential for privacy abuse” because of the agreement between the devices and the app sharing content without permission. I agree with the concerns brought up in the article because I think that the relationship seems to go against all norms of privacy and peoples rights.
    The last point brought up is the idea that people are unable to do anything to help situations caught on camera because they are seen after the fact. I think this is an interesting point which might not be thought of usually. I think this raises a question about how to make it so the information can be seen earlier by possibly an alert when there is activity, so that if intervention is necessary something can be done.

  12. Tiffanny Reynolds November 4, 2019 at 8:21 pm #

    I find this to be a very interesting article with the debate that it raises. It makes legitimate sense as to why a homeowner would purchase and utilize one of these camera-equipped doorbells: for surveillance of personal property. I remember when products like these first started to become advertised. I remember seeing TV commercials for parents who are still at work when children come home from school, so they can make sure their little ones got home safely. Or like the article mentions, an individual is able to catch if someone tries to steal their Amazon package(s). These are all very simple, personal reasons to owning these products.
    With the addition of police surveillance with the Neighbors app, I find this use to be questionable. Granted, although it seems as though the homeowners upload their Ring videos to Neighbors as they seem fit, the idea that the police can get ahold of this footage “without a warrant” gives a bit of a Big-Brother vibe. The way that police accord is held nowadays, one’s individual rights of privacy are being attacked in everyday situations. Pleading the fifth amendment or not completely giving into the police portrays the idea nowadays that people are hiding something. It’s as though the phrase “If you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide” is the new standard of police protocol. Therefore, if the police were to ask for the Ring footage of Homeowner X without a warrant, and they denied, the police would without a doubt find a way to get it, even if it meant getting a warrant to search Homeowner X’s belongings, which had nothing to do with the crime involved in the first place. It truly is like 1984 come to life.
    Even with that, not everyone wants to be surveilled 24/7, whether they have something to hide or not. I know for one that I sometimes like to disappear (typically in the form of hibernating in my room, turning my phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ while curling under the blankets and watching Netflix for the day). Others like to disappear as well, sometimes in the form of taking a walk in the neighborhood to get away from the house for a few minutes, or whatever the case may be.
    When it comes to social media, privacy has always been a concern. However, with social media, one does not have to use their real name, picture, or personal information. When I first started using Twitter when I was in middle school (my very first social media account), I did not have a picture of myself, nor used my real name. (Not only did I know that my mother did not condone the action and did not want her to find me on there, I also was weary of privacy and social interaction online.) The problem with Ring is that an individual is being recorded by video and audio. Therefore, one’s identity is compromised, especially if the individual’s name is said within Ring’s radius.
    Even though the article states that “Ring tightly controls how police officials can portray its dealings with the company”, it does not state the control that Ring has with the police’s access of its content. Personally, I do not know many people that own a camera-equipped doorbell (granted, while I do rent a home myself, I am still in college and many of the people I know live in dorms). Just like internet privacy is a concern for hackers who steal personal information, who’s to say that the Ring portal is safe from being hacked, and hackers can become stalkers in finding a person’s residence? If these devices become a norm, like the deadbolt has become in addition or instead of a simple doorknob lock, then the issue of personal privacy will certainly arise in society once more.

  13. Griffin Smith November 4, 2019 at 9:57 pm #

    I side with the consumer in this debate I believe that no person should have to worry about their house being broken into, or any person ever feeling unsafe in their own home. When you’re in the safety of your own home that is the time where you should never have to doubt about someone breaking in and harming you or any of your loved ones. I own a Ring even though I live in an area that is usually very safe and there is little crime I have a little sister and dogs who are home during the day, and the Ring is there so that I can make sure my sister gets home okay because it tells me when she walks by the camera. It also alerts me when people are dropping off packages or the mail, and I can talk to them through the app on my phone which helps a lot because before I bought my Ring there were times where I had to stay home during the day to sign for something I had ordered. I understand the other side of the argument that people feel as if they are being watched more now and that privacy is becoming more of a luxury, but I feel there are more positives of these doorbell camera systems than negatives. People feel as if they can’t walk around their neighborhood without being followed by cameras, but other than the owner only the police can access these cameras which I picture as a good thing cops will now have an easier time tracking down criminals that are on the run, accessing certain doorbell cameras of houses that are around the criminal on the loose. In my opinion, I think the police and a company that sells this doorbell camera security system can join together, and begin placing these products in homes in high crime areas, and I believe crime would go down because I lot of shootings that happen in the downtown Philadelphia area begin with simple house break-ins. Another argument from the article about these cameras are that a lot of the crimes seen cannot be stopped because they are caught live, but in my opinion even if the crime isn’t stopped the criminal that offense can still be caught and punished appropriately. As long as these doorbell cameras continue to be used there will be arguments of invasion of personal privacy, but our personal privacy is being invaded everyday when going onto the Internet and using social media so what is the big deal about a neighbor using a doorbell camera to ensure the safety of their family.

  14. Corinne Roonan November 5, 2019 at 10:22 am #

    Before I respond to this article, I want to begin by saying that I understand the appeal of these types of smart devices in home protection. Call me old-fashioned, but I do not truly understand why this is necessary, especially when these devices are mostly used in places where crime rates tend to be on the lower end than in other areas where they are not used. It almost makes me laugh, truly, that very suburban people living in safe areas are getting these devices to protect themselves from threats (like deer, maybe? I am not really sure what they are protecting themselves from. If someone knows, please let me know.)
    On a serious note though, in the places where crime rates are so high, the people who are truly threatened by crime are not able to necessarily purchase these types of surveillance goods, and even if they are, it is not common that they will actually buy them anyway.
    On another serious note, privacy is at stake. Not only for the people using it, but for the neighbors and other people simply walking by. Plus, does the app have a clear standard saying that they do not collect images from the ring doorbells? What if they are using that information for other things that we are not aware of? It seems too fishy for me to suggest anyone purchase one without more research into the business’s terms and conditions.

  15. Sarah I November 5, 2019 at 8:11 pm #

    Surveillance cameras are the new trend in home security. Homeowners feel more secure when they know what happens outside their house when they aren’t home or in the middle of the night. These cameras were originally made to help homeowners and law enforcement catch criminals. I think the idea of posting these surveillance videos on social media platforms has gone way too far. As someone who owns a ring camera, I absolutely love the idea of it and I feel in control because I can see who comes to my door when I am not home. Not once did I ever think of posting any of the videos of random people on social media. I feel like that defeats the purpose of home security. Security is supposed to be used for the homeowner and law enforcement. I do agree that their is an issue of capturing someone else’s property. Since ring does give you the option to record motion up to 30-feet out, if you live in a close neighborhood, 30-feet out could be your neighbors door. I feel like that amount is unnecessary in most neighborhoods. Ring is aware of this issue, but wants to give those who have larger zones the options to record up to 30-feet. It is unfortunate that individuals take advantage of products that are supposed to be used for good. Unfortunately, Ring can’t control how every consumer uses their product. That raises the question of who is responsible for this lack of privacy. Would it be ring or the consumer?

    Maeve Lersch stated above, “ According to the company the purpose of the devices are to capture any criminal activity to help reduce, but much more is being captured. Personally, I have a hard time with this concept because I do not see how the company could only capture intended videos such as criminal activity while not getting anything else.” In reply to this, I agree that there is an issue with capturing much more footage than necessary, but you never know when crime is going to happen. The camera has to be on all day long in order to capture a crime if it happens. I don’t think the company is wrong in stating the purpose of the device is to capture crime. Ring was made with the purpose and the intended use of recording criminal activity. How much activity is recorded should not defeat the purpose of its intended use. No one expects for someone to break into their home, it just happens. I do understand the concern on the lack of privacy, but if the purpose is to keep homeowners safe then products like these might be our new reality.

  16. Dominic Caraballo November 6, 2019 at 12:46 pm #

    Just because Ring doorbell cameras occasionally capture videos of people passing by on the street and strange occurrences at odd times of the day, doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want a camera like that for protection. In addition, if the video doorbell is in the correct spot near the door (where a doorbell would be), then whatever happening outside would be visible from the house anyway. It isn’t like there is an invasion of privacy going on. Sometimes it happens that no one was home or awake at the time to actually see for themselves. I believe posting the videos to social media or submitting them to various news outlets is opening up an entirely different can of worms that may need to be addressed.

    Regardless, Ring cameras are definitely beneficial in the monitoring of people’s homes as well as being a great deterrent to burglars. If the intruder happens to proceed with the crime, Ring can aid in their apprehension of the criminal by providing potential footage of the suspect. The LAPD did a study of two neighborhoods, one with Ring products, the other without, “and we saw a 50% reduction in burglaries in the neighborhood with the doorbell, while the other side saw no changes.” (USAToday.com) It can provide a heightened peace of mind for people who travel away from their home for extended periods of time. In addition, provide an added measure of protection for those who are home and don’t want to answer their door.

  17. Halli Schwartz November 6, 2019 at 4:07 pm #

    After logging on to Facebook the other day, I viewed an adorable video. The moment, recorded on a Ring doorbell camera, showed a little boy who was trick or treating place some of his own candy back into the empty bowl at the house so a little girl was able to procure some candy. Ring doorbells were created for safety, and have certainly saved many from robberies and criminals. These doorbells have a constant recording of the outside of one’s home, to not only allow a user to monitor their home while they are away, but also allow them to capture moments, whether these be videos to send to the authorities, or more recently, adorable ones to share with friends and family. This brings up an interesting question. Will technologies used for safety evolve into something more? Additionally, is the constant recording of Ring a lack of privacy.

    When watching the aforementioned video on Facebook, I thought nothing of it, other than I wanted to share the happiness i gained from this video with close friends. However, did the parents of this little boy allow for this video to be posted. Are they aware that their child has become a viral sensation due to a neighbor filming him without his permission? I think that the Ring doorbell, and others like it, were invented for a good reason. One’s home is a very valuable possession, and they would do anything to protect it, and their loved ones that live inside of it. Crime is occurring on the daily, and the ability to have evidence in these crimes is very important. But where is the line drawn between safety/security and privacy?

    If an individual has committed a crime on one’s property, they are allowed to give these recordings to the police as evidence. They can even share this information on the Neighbors app, which works in correlation with the Ring doorbell to share security threats in one’s community. However, these viral videos of other people that have not given permission to be shared should not be allowed to be shared. As technology continues to evolve, and more home security devices are created, home owners must be wary that privacy is very important, and not discussed enough. Through bringing privacy issues to light, as well as possibly amending their technology to hit upon this dilemma, I believe that Ring could become even more successful, and more importantly, be a more ethical product.

  18. Caitlyn M November 6, 2019 at 4:29 pm #

    As someone who lives in the suburbs, outward-facing security cameras such as Ring are not news to me. In fact, my parents have them installed outside our own home. While nothing particularly noteworthy has ever occurred in front of them, I know that they do a great job of making my parents feel safer when we leave our house alone to go on vacation. I never thought of the potential privacy violations they could do to people simply walking outside of our house, or to those that come up to our front door, since my parents have never uploaded anything captured by Ring onto the Neighbors app. The thought that if I walked up to someone’s house and knocked on the door and they recorded me doing so and identified me as ‘suspicious’, and then shared my video without my consent, does make me a little uneasy. I think that privacy laws and regulations need to be updated to reflect these sorts of devices as they currently do not take them into consideration and as such privacy laws are being called into question. In order for these questions to have a sufficient answer, new laws and regulations, or updates to the old ones, that specifically refer to these devices must be put in place.

    It was refreshing to read though that there are happier uses for the Ring app, such as various recordings of animals wandering across laws and porches, and the little boy that was caught practicing the pledge of allegiance in his yard. While this may not be the primary intended use for Ring, I think that capturing sweet little everyday occurrences is a heartwarming and good use of the device. I also think that in general, the device does help to catch criminals that are unaware the device is installed, which can help police officers catch criminals that may otherwise go uncaught. While I do find it a little strange that police officers can request for Ring videos without obtaining a warrant first, I believe that if privacy laws and regulations are updated this too will be addressed and will either be given a legal reason to continue or a legal reason to stop.

  19. Danielle Blanco November 7, 2019 at 9:34 am #

    A new form of technology has been developed and is being used for multiple purposes. It is called Ring. It picks up any type of motion from over 30 feet away and begins recording your area in front of your house. This has been seen as a way to stay protected by capturing any dangerous activity. Police in the area have teamed with Ring in some areas giving them access to obtain footage from houses without the owner’s consent and without a warrant. This has made people feel on edge because the police have the right to take the footage without their knowledge. They feel this is an invasion of their privacy because they will have all footage even if it is not criminal activity. Another concern is that people are being recorded without their consent.
    Someone could be walking by the house or kids could be playing outside and Ring would record all of it. I am someone who runs around my neighborhood and I would feel uncomfortable knowing that the same house I run by picks up when I run by due to its motion sensors. Sometimes I even stop and stretch to catch my breath. My next concern would be what would the owners of the house do with that footage. Technically it is their footage because it is their own device. However, I never gave my consent to record. If they were to distribute the footage would I have the right to take legal action if I did not want that footage going around. There has been instances where people have submitted footage that their Ring device recorded to their local networks to share something funny it picked up. The footage sometimes goes viral. If I was the one in the video and it is an embarrassing video, I would want to take action against the person who submitted it. A bad enough video could cost someone their job if their employer does not want a bad reputation. How is this any different than someone who is intentionally videotaping a person? By owning Ring, the owner knows that the purpose of owning the device is to record activity around their house. The owner is able to do whatever they want with the footage and could find a way to keep the footage forever.
    Of course, there are many benefits to having the device. It makes homeowners feel protected in case any fraudulent activity occurs in front of their house, they have footage to find and prosecute whoever omitted the crime. If I were a homeowner, I would want to take every step to keep myself or anyone in the house protected. Ring should only be used for that purpose, not to distribute video of strangers without any reason.

  20. Sarah C November 7, 2019 at 2:02 pm #

    I live in a suburban area where it is common for people to have Ring doorbells. I have definitely considered it as a safety measure, but I didn’t realize that journalists and those who work for the media were interested in the footage that would come from the doorbell device. This article detailed a lot of different situations in which the ring has captured video of gun violence, robberies, break-ins, and package theft. I think that the ring has its advantages in that it offers a safe way to protect your home, and that it captures anything that may happen at your front door.

    One of my professors has a Ring doorbell, and although he might be away from home, he is still notified whenever there is a visitor at his home’s front door. My professor even receives notifications while in class and told us that he received a package from Amazon and that he could see the delivery driver drop it off. I live away from home and dorm at my school for the majority of the year, so I like to know that my family is safe at home. I feel that the ring is a product that is worth investing in because I don’t think that I would mind that journalists seek out the footage from my ring. If anything, it would make my neighborhood a safer area to live in if a problem occurred that the camera picked up on. I think that reading this article has only furthered my belief that Ring is a company that I would look to purchase products from.

  21. Joseph M. November 7, 2019 at 8:38 pm #

    We as individuals are constantly being surveilled. We live in a society that values security over privacy and thus have given away privacies that used to be taken for granted in exchange for feeling a bit safer at night. I live in a suburban area that is relatively quiet, all things considered. Crime is very low in my home state of New Hampshire and I have, for the most part, felt safe in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, we had a problem a few years ago with crimes taking place in our part of town. Instead of opting for one of these security systems that allow the company to monitor your home 24/7, we opted for a more private route.

    My father and I installed a closed-circuit camera system with cameras surrounding our house that have a clear view of the whole property. We also put up bright motion-activated lights on the front of the house and brought home a 100 pound German Shepherd. She was a very protective dog that would bark at the sight of someone unfamiliar but was always very gentle with my family. These steps ensured that if someone was on our property that shouldn’t be, we would know. It also allowed us to maintain our privacy from the watchful eye of a company. That is a part of my childhood that I cannot put a tangible value on. To know that I was safe and had the greatest extent of privacy that my parents could provide is more than some get today. I personally would never consider using one of these devices as I am not only making a decision about my privacy, but also a decision on behalf of the neighborhood and that is not my decision to make.

  22. Preethi Dwarasila November 7, 2019 at 8:54 pm #

    I feel that the everyone wants to be in a fast paced lives and that means giving our privacy away. People really need to know that living in the city means everything is being watched and you have people around you all the time. I have friends who live in a suburban area and they hate going to the city because it’s so crowded and they do not feel like they have privacy. My friends who live in a suburban area like how they have the privacy to do what they want and they do not have people around them all the time. They get the peaceful area and they like how people do not have to know what is happening in their house. And usually there is low crime in suburban area which is really good and you aren’t always being watched by others. We as individuals are constantly being surveilled. I personally do not think I can live in a suburban area because I got so used to living in the city environment. And I think that once people get used the way you live, you can’t really go the other way. And I think it’s true for most people. It’s really hard to get used to a city life if you are from suburban area and going from city life to suburban area. I do think that living in suburban area does give way more privacy and you do not feel like you are closed off and feel like they have more say in the lifestyle they want.

  23. Connor G November 7, 2019 at 10:33 pm #

    The rise of devices such as Ring and Nested have played a large role in creating a sense of security for homeowners in all communities, specifically suburban America. Constantly filming in the frame of one’s doorstep and allowing them to see what goes on plays a large part in feeling as though one has control over his or her home even when not present. However, these new video security devices have given way to serious privacy issues that need to be addressed through company policies and legal codes. Being able to point the cameras wherever one wants, as of right now, could potentially be a violation of property rights. There would likely be a lawsuit if a person set up a camera to film their neighbor’s house at all times, so these new security doorbells should be held to the same standard. It is important to create a sense of security, however, this should not be done at the expense of the security of other residents. Companies like Amazon and Google should set guidelines for their products such as they are not be used outside of a doorway or by narrowing the scope of these cameras. Although they are currently only at around thirty feet of range, that gives potential for abuse in neighborhoods with apartment buildings and townhomes. Furthermore, legal codes should be enacted in order to protect residents from these cameras, such as stipulating where exactly the cameras can face.

    Selling the footage for media content also is an ethical dilemma. If a person leaves a camera rolling at all times, eventually something will be caught that is worthy enough to talk about. However, making it known that people can sell content to media corporations could potentially cause others to purchase these cameras for the wrong reasons: surveilling their neighborhoods in search of something that is deemed “newsworthy.” While in the past these cameras have caught interesting stories, this again potentially infringes on privacy rights of others. The potential for abuse of this technology is high, as the internal security might be lacking. This could give advanced hackers the chance to tap into the livestream in order to determine the amount of traffic in the area as well as the number of visitors a dwelling receives before planning a break-in, especially in more affluent neighborhoods. Although Ring and related technologies have good intentions, there are some issues about which consumers must learn.

  24. Jackson Beltrandi November 13, 2019 at 12:47 am #

    The moment I saw this article I knew I had to comment on it. My dad is obsessed with his new cameras which he has set up in our upper middle-class house in the middle of nowhere. There is literally no house within a mile of us, but he feels that we needed cameras in our living room, doorway, and our driveway. The only movements these cameras are paying up is me eating Cheetos in the kitchen or playing basketball in the driveway. However, there is a larger problem to these cameras than just the fact that they are a money grab from suburbia.
    The main company in home-surveillance is Ring, who was acquired by Amazon for nearly $1 billion. This acquisition has partnered with over 400 police departments, which I would expect to benefit the Police departments they serve. There have been many package thefts, burglary cases, and other related crimes directly reported to the Police from Ring devices.
    However, it has been noticed by many queasy customers that the camera picks up more peculiar footage. These instances include watching the rest of the neighborhood, where the people being filmed don’t know they are being filmed. To me, this raises many privacy questions. When does owning a camera such as Ring violate the rights of other citizens when they are used outside the scope, purpose of the product? For example, the article mentions moments where people are unknowingly being filmed, and being used as propaganda for news outlets. Who gets to claim constent for the footage? Is it the owner of the camera, or the person being filmed? Personally, I think the footage should only be uploaded anywhere online if the person being filmed has provided consent. Obviously, cases where there is a crime being committed does not require consent to report to police.
    As I mentioned earlier my dad purchased a few of these devices. As someone who lives in the woods in a discrete location, I do not see the purpose of owning one of these cameras. Even though they serve their purpose often, there are many cases where people’s privacy rights are being violated.

  25. Victoria Balka November 20, 2019 at 2:55 pm #

    While having a doorbell that is able to video and show you people and events that are occurring right outside your door, they also cause a lot of issues. In the United States, everyone is supposed to have a right to privacy but, if their actions are being recorded as they walk by someone’s house, their privacy is being taken away. While I believe that if people want to have a video of what is happening at their front door for their own protection and possibly other reasons, it is not right for them to have the ability to record and see what people are doing outside their property and especially on someone else’s property. These doorbells can see as far as 30 feet, which is an extremely long distance that many people who are walking by, living their own personal life, would not assume the doorbell can be watching them at that distance. While these doorbells have features that can be beneficial such as the ability to send videos of crimes or suspects to the police, they are also harming the individuals who are being shown on the internet without their consent. I believe that the people who have these doorbells have no right to post what these unsuspecting people are doing in their private life. While people may not be doing anything wrong or illegal, their privacy is still being taken away from them.
    In this situation, I believe that ring doorbells needs to create a policy that restricts people from posting videos that have been taken by their doorbell onto the internet. I also think that the company should not have access to what has been filmed by people’s doorbells and should not use these random unsuspecting people in their ads for everyone on the internet to see. I also believe that the people who own these doorbells should be required to set it up so that it cannot film what is happening off of their property since it is causing a major invasion to other people’s privacy. While there are a few negatives to these types of doorbells, there are also many good things about them if the user is not exposing people and instead using it for their personal safety.

Leave a Reply