Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother

Busy, busy, busy. That's Amazon. First books, then everything else. Now, the online retail behemoth is partnering with police departments while building up its for-profit surveillance network using its Ring doorbell camera.


(Ring Surveillance State network)

Amazon wants police departments to know who is the senior partner in this enterprise, seeking to control how police departments describe this new technology:

On 28 February, once the Pittsburg police green-lighted the program, Ring sent the department a press release template and noted the final communique would have to be approved by Ring before release. The Ring representative also sent Amazon-approved social media assets to be used to promote the Ring program.

“Remember to make sure you highlight your Branch/Text link to try and have your civilians download the Neighbors by Ring App,” he said on 12 March. “I recommend reposting these links to your social media pages once a month to re-engage the community to download the app!”

On 25 April, a spokesman from Ring praised social media posts regarding the partnership and encouraged more. “Let’s keep this community interaction going strong!” he said. “Hopefully, the department can get a ton of people to download the Neighbors App from your specific link!”

Fans of grey, totalitarian surveillance states recall the telescreen-based surveillance system from Georgie Orwell's 1948 classic 1984:

Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.
(Read more about Orwell's telescreen)

Not surprisingly, Soviet writer Yevgeny Zamyatin got there first with his 1922 novel We; read about the membranes that were the cornerstone of the listening network.

Via TheGuardian.

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