Amazon and MGM are marketing Ring Nation, their upcoming reality TV show hosted by comic and former NSA agent Wanda Sykes, as “a brand new twist on the favored clip show style.” But over 40 completely different civil rights organizations are now talking out in opposition to this system for being a harmful piece of pro-surveillance company propaganda and are calling on the studios to cancel the show earlier than it ever sees the sunshine of day.
Today, Fight for the Future, MediaJustice, Action Center on Race and the Economy, and dozens of different civil rights groups affiliated with the Cancel Ring Nation campaign revealed an open letter addressed to MGM management warning them about “the damaging precedent MGM is setting in normalizing and selling Amazon’s dangerous community of surveillance cameras.” The letter, addressed to MGM TV chairman Mark Burnett and MGM president of unscripted TV Barry Poznick, goes into element about the hazards Ring cameras and the tradition related to them pose to weak communities and argues that Ring Nation is simply the latest piece of Amazon’s Ring-branded “surveillance community” being bought as leisure.
“Ring has a protracted history of utilizing racially-coded canine whistles and weaponizing race to promote their merchandise,” the letter states. “And the accompanying Neighbors app gamifies the profiling and criminalization of Black and brown people. Footage from Ring cameras was used to track and monitor protesters who took to the streets, exercising their First Amendment rights, within the wake of George Floyd’s homicide. These are not remoted incidents. Racial profiling and racist policing are core elements of Ring’s business mannequin, which earnings off worry.”
Though Ring Nation’s but to air, it’s not exhausting to perceive what type of sequence it’s modeled after primarily based on the few particulars Amazon and MGM have shared about it so far. But not like different candid clip exhibits the place one may see “neighbors saving neighbors, marriage proposals, navy reunions, and foolish animals” caught on digicam in moments of pure coincidence, Ring Nation’s footage is all sourced from ever-present safety units that Amazon sells on the promise of holding folks secure from hazard. What Amazon doesn’t attempt to make clear to customers because it’s promoting them Ring cameras is that it’s going to, when requested, present police departments with entry to customers’ footage with neither a warrant nor consent and that Ring’s partnered with over 2,000 police and hearth departments. This has been true since earlier than Ring Nation was introduced, however Cancel Ring Nation’s letter emphasizes how, in a post-Roe world particularly, folks ought to perceive how Ring cameras will be weaponized in opposition to them and how that weaponization will be exacerbated by applications like Ring Nation.
“Ring isn’t simply giving police departments entry to surveillance knowledge: it offers them with backdoor entry to a mass surveillance community that operates unbiased of the Fourth Amendment and any oversight,” the letter says. “In the wake of the reversal of Roe, footage from a Ring digicam could possibly be used to prosecute an abortion affected person who goes out of state for healthcare — both by filming the clinic, capturing them leaving an Airbnb, or proving that they weren’t residence for a couple of days.”
While Ring Nation pulls from footage that Ring customers themselves select to share, what’s troubling is the way in which that the show — simply by present — presents Ring cameras as a supply of leisure by approach of their normalized use. The letter notes that although there might be people who consent to be half of Ring Nation, there’s no approach of guarding unsuspecting groups “in opposition to the harms stemming from Ring’s surveilling communities at massive, particularly marginalized communities focused by police.”
“Not solely will MGM’s Ring Nation additional normalize dangerous neighborhood surveillance, it should deepen the pockets of an organization that earnings from the criminalization of communities of coloration and surveilling the whereabouts and actions of thousands and thousands,” the letter states. “Ring Nation is an commercial for a bleak imaginative and prescient of the long run, during which personal megacorporations surveil our each transfer, promote us out to regulation enforcement, and revenue off racism and hatred. Does MGM endorse this future?”
Ring Nation is ready to premiere on September twenty sixth.