RE: Don’t Renew Ring Nation for a Second Season—Cancel Ring Nation
Dear Barry Poznick,
Over 40 civil rights organizations and 60,000 people have demanded MGM to cancel “Ring Nation.” MGM has failed to respond or indicate you are listening to the substantive and dire concerns so many have expressed. Instead, you doubled down on normalizing Amazon’s surveillance dragnet which fuels violent over-policing and the criminalization of Black, brown, and poor people. With the first season ending, you once again have an opportunity to cancel Ring Nation and stop promoting militarized policing.
Ring cameras put lives at risk. Last month, a man and his teenage son shot and almost killed a woman sitting in her car, an incident prompted by a Ring camera alert. This situation exemplifies the kind of vigilante violence civil rights groups warn will continue to escalate. Ring devices, and the accompanying Neighbors app, encourage people to self-police their neighborhoods and surveil their neighbors and bystanders. By gamifying discriminatory vigilantism, Amazon recruits and engages Ring customers through paranoia and fear. Accordingly, this kind of vigilantism is on the rise.
Post Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson states have begun to pass ‘vigilante laws’ to deputize civilians. These laws empower the very civilian investigation and policing that instigates violence. And now, it’s even worse. People will not only use Ring cameras to surveil their communities, they’re encouraged to use Ring to scrutinize and punish abortion patients as well as those who support them. Ring-fueled violence extends beyond vigilantism.
Police officers shot and killed a man after a woman posted Ring footage of her interaction with him on the Neighbors app. And on a larger scale, a report has found that about half of Ring’s police partners had been responsible for at least one killing in the previous five years, and that Ring’s police partners were responsible for over a third of all police killings nationwide.
There is already strong precedent in your industry for canceling shows that do real harm and lead to deaths in our communities. ‘Live PD’ was canceled after filming a police incident that led to the death of a 40 year old man. Before that senseless murder, racial justice and civil rights group had been warning about the harms of promoting violent police tactics, militarized policing, and racial profiling. In fact, at the time of the incident, racial justice groups were also calling for ‘Live PD’ to be canceled.
Today, a broad coalition of racial justice and human rights groups are sounding the alarm again. Ring Nation promotes dangerous Ring surveillance cameras that fuel racist, violent policing, fear and paranoia in our communities, and vigilante violence. Hopefully, it won’t take more people being killed for you to listen and cancel this show.
Should you choose to keep this show on air, MGM will be endorsing harmful surveillance, criminalization, and vigilante violence. In selectively choosing “funny” Ring footage you are manipulating the public and distorting the reality of harm caused by these devices. It’s time to stop. We call on you to not renew this harmful tv show for a second season—cancel Ring Nation for good.
California LGBT Arts Alliance
Center on Race and Digital Justice
Detroit Community Technology Project
Dignity and Power NOW
Envision Freedom Fund
Fight for the Future
For Us Not Amazon Coalition
FREE! Families Rally for Emancipation and Empowerment
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Jobs With Justice
Just Futures Law
Main Street Alliance
May First Movement Technology
Muslim Counterpublics Lab
New York Communities for Change
Progressive Technology Project
Stop LAPD Spying Coalition
SURJ Northern Virginia
Surveillance Technology Oversight Project
Surveillance, Tech, & Immigration Policing Project at the Immigrant Defense Project
United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry
United We Dream
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
Warehouse Worker Resource Center