Amazon’s new clip show ‘Ring Nation’ will try to make surveillance fun
Amazon is working on a television show compiling videos taken from Ring security cameras. Called Ring Nation, the clip show will be hosted by comedian Wanda Sykes and serve as an ever-timely reminder that privacy is eroding into nothing more than a vaguely remembered relic of the faded past.
Deadline reports Ring Nation is scheduled to premiere Sept. 26 and will feature video from people’s doorbell cameras and home security cameras, which is expected to include everything from surprise proposals to animal antics. A half-hour show, Ring Nation is a joint production from MGM Television, producer Big Fish Entertainment, and Ring (and its co-founder and CEO Jamie Siminoff). All three of these companies are owned by Amazon.
The voyeuristic interest in surveillance footage is nothing new. Clips of people falling over in shopping malls and accidentally toppling warehouse pallets have gone viral practically since the dawn of streaming video. Still, there’s something vaguely unnerving about Amazon, the giant organisation putting cameras in our homes and keeping the footage in the cloud, subsequently packaging and showcasing these security videos in a lighthearted clip show.
According to a press release, Ring Nation will collect its clips from submissions by people in the U.S. Mashable has reached out to Amazon for further information on how it will gather its footage, and whether clip owners will be compensated.
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Ring’s Privacy Notice already notes that it collects “content (and related information) that is captured and recorded when using our products and services, such as video or audio recordings.” This is expected, as such collection is necessary for the cloud storage features of Ring’s devices to work.
This also means Ring is technically capable of scouring through your home surveillance footage for cute moments it can exploit. The company has already proven your home videos aren’t actually as private as you may believe, having handed over a record amount of surveillance footage to U.S. authorities just last year.
Fortunately, that video of your morning smoothie exploding in your face probably won’t end up on Ring Nation unless someone submits it. For one, Ring would have to dig through an awful lot of footage to discover it, with over 10 million people owning Ring cameras. For another, Ring’s Privacy Notice lists what it will use collected customers’ information for, but makes no mention of appropriating customers’ video and audio recordings for a lighthearted clip show hosted by Wanda Sykes.
The company does note that it “may use the personal information we collect about you in other ways for which we provide specific notice at the time of collection and obtain your consent if required by applicable law.” But it’s reasonable to conclude that searching through your home surveillance footage for embarrassing clips of you dancing would at least require your consent.
Though to be fair, that hasn’t stopped Ring employees from accessing users’ private videos before.