The Return of (Amazon) Ring
A conversation with Lauren Bridges
If you ever have the feeling that someone, or *something*, might be watching you, then this week’s guest is here to tell you . . . it’s Amazon.
I spoke with Lauren Bridges, a PhD candidate at the the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania who studies big data infrastructures and surveillance regimes. We talk all about Amazon Ring: Why does Amazon want footage of your front door anyways? How is this surveillance shared with law enforcement agencies across the country? Where does this surveillance fit in with racialized notions of crime and policing? And what happens when Amazon Ring is hacked? (😱)
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Further reading from the episode
Articles by Lauren:
Amazon’s Ring is the largest civilian surveillance network the US has ever seen (Guardian Op-Ed)
Infrastructural obfuscation: unpacking the carceral logics of the Ring surveillant assemblage (Academic Article)
Who is Amazon? (Anti-Dystopians Podcast)
A Black Woman Invented Home Security. Why Did It Go So Wrong? By Chris Gilliard (Wired)
The IRS Should Stop Using Facial Recognition by Joy Buolamwini (The Atlantic)
Building the Digitally Gated Community: The Case of Nextdoor by Rahim Kurwa (Academic Article)
Amazon Unveils Drone That Films Inside Your Home. What Could Go Wrong? (The New York Times)
Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness by Simone Browne (Book)
The Surveillant Assemblage By Kevin Haggerty and Richard Ericson (Academic Article)
Amazon's advertising revenue hit $31 billion in 2021, one of Amazon's fastest-growing areas (Business Insider)
More on Clearview AI and how law enforcement uses facial recognition technology (New York Times)
Clearview’s Facial Recognition App Has Been Used By The Justice Department, ICE, Macy’s, Walmart, And The NBA (Buzzfeed)
Your Local Police Department Might Have Used This Facial Recognition Tool To Surveil You. Find Out Here. (Buzzfeed)
Tweet of the week
What I’ve been reading
Amazon quietly became the co-owner of Omni Air, an airline that runs deportation flights for ICE and is implicated in alleged systemic abuse and torture of immigrants (The Intercept)
Amazon has become a digital advertising behemoth, in part by charging small businesses to ensure that their products appear high in search results.
An Amnesty International report, worked on by friend of the show Matt Mahmoudi, shows a map of NYC’s cameras with (surprise!) more surveillance in Black and brown neighborhoods. A MIT Technology Review of the report too.
Ryan Mac (who was one of the journalists who broke the Peter Thiel-Gawker story) is back on the Thiel beat with this long-read in The New York Times on Thiel’s political ambitions. You can also catch up with the Anti-Dystopians podcast on Peter Thiel (The So-Called Philosopher King of Silicon Valley).
Article in the Guardian about how Bitcoin miners revived a dying coal plant and, if you care about stopping climate change, crypto-currency is a no-no.
Time Magazine reveals Facebook content moderators in Kenya are making as little as $1.50 per hour, with a workplace culture characterized by mental trauma, intimidation, and alleged suppression of the right to unionize.
Laleh Khalili in the LRB with the article “Stupid Questions” about how military-generals-turned-consultants now dominate the self-help book industry