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Amazon Engineer Calls for End of Ring

Internet-connected cameras and smart doorbells, he wrote, are 'not compatible with a free society.'

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AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File

Hundreds of Amazon employees signed their names to sweeping critiques of the e-commerce and tech giant’s policies over the weekend.

Although the post on Medium primarily made headlines for highlighting Amazon’s impact on the climate — along with the potential ramifications for the workers themselves — one software engineer declared that the company’s Ring smart doorbell subsidiary should be eliminated entirely.

Max Eliaser, a software developer engineer, wrote that the widespread deployment of internet-connected cameras that “allow footage to be queried centrally are simply not compatible with a free society.”

Amazon acquired Ring for $1 billion in 2018 and, according to reports, began forming partnerships with hundreds of police agencies across the country. The practice drew scrutiny from privacy advocates and lawmakers concerned about constant neighborhood surveillance and its potential social impact — particularly on minorities.

Amazon has noted the footage cannot be shared without the Ring user’s consent, but the company also acknowledged it does not require law enforcement to delete videos after a certain timeframe. 

“The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation and there is no balance that can be struck,” Eliaser wrote. “Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back.”

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