A Black Woman Invented Home Security. Why Is It Wrong?

Not just Amazon. This trend is also reflected in the rise of automated license plate reader systems for the individual neighborhoods, a partnership with Google on ADT, and the company’s launch of “smart” security cameras that offer the ability to describe “events” by recording, recognizing friendly faces, and recognizing noises such as broken glass. While technology giants seek to satisfy every aspect of our lives, home security has become a 50 billion dollar business in the United States alone.

Consistent with expanding its surveillance over the years, Amazon’s Ring has partnered with more than 400 police departments nationwide, following a successful multiyear strategy of making law enforcement part-time agents to sell the doorbell and cement the term “balcony pirate” in our lexicon. . The behemoth then mockingly tried to suppress the apparent consequences of its race in its own consumer -driven way. In 2020 it debuted the Ring dash cam with a Stop in Traffic mode that allows drivers to say “Alexa I pulled over,” where Alexa will start recording the next traffic stop. The company that makes a lot of hay capable of spying, supercharging the ability to explode racist ideas about who belongs in a neighborhood and acting as a powerful force is now putting a bone to the bone. man who could be guilty of “driving while Black.” This is the same logic that drives body cams. In both cases, the results in terms of protecting Black lives did not comply with the proponents ’claims.

on Dark Things: In Monitoring the Dark, Simone Browne, professor of Black Studies in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, suggests that anti-Black racism is fundamentally coded by all of our systems of vision, management, observation, and surveillance. He argues that there is no such thing as a surveillance system, at least when people are involved, that cannot add anti-Blackness. According to Browne, “The historic formation of surveillance is nothing more than the historic formation of slavery.”

No number of technological advances can change the basic fact that surveillance and carceral technology exist to serve those in control. Accounts about police response times and accountability remain the same, even as the 50-plus years since Brown’s patent have seen more vigilance in public and private spaces. It questions prevailing assumptions about what keeps communities safe — a point repeatedly made by community activists and police abolitionists. Brown’s invention is not evidence of some kind of thoughtful association with rigid technologies; however, it shows that the rigorous function of technologies lies in their involvement with widespread racial ideas.

Many of these tools have become agents of gentrification. They offload the “policing” of Black people in public places to individuals who become de facto cops. The first ads for the Ring were clear about it, even the promising gifts in the form of free products. Even if the company has downplayed this rhetoric in recent years, an important aspect of Ring and Neighbors is still the assertion that by owning the device, you are doing your part in “fighting crime.”

The accounts of how a given surveillance technology can improve the way police work and Black communities have both remained strong over time. Claims about improved police response times, increased safety and accountability, increased safety or better community relations continue to mark the introduction of new surveillance technologies — from the police body cam until Project Green Light in Detroit, Stingrays o surveillance planes in Baltimore, neighborhood automated license plate readers, and Ring Doorbells. Even if this may be an indication of what communities are demanding from policing, there is an alternative to read: The promises remain the same and are not delivered because these technologies exist to further strengthen Black vigilance. and brown bodies as a practice standard on how to enforce the law. operating here in the country. In other words, these technologies drive solutions to problems systematically. Increasingly and better forms of surveillance do not, nor can they be the solution to these issues.

Remarkably, like Amazon and other private providers, U.S. cities and states have made statements about increased monitoring that result in increased safety, despite the fact that other countries have already tried this idea. and was found to like it. The United Kingdom has arguably the largest network of CCTV cameras in a democracy, with between 4 million and 5.9 million cameras in use in 2015, most of them are run not by the government but by businesses and individuals. Even the Surveillance Commissioner for the UK and Wales concerned that the point of the cameras is to “build a surveillance society,” not to prevent crime, because there is little evidence that cameras prevent crime, and the crime their impact likely property crimes rather than violent ones. This is an indisputable empirical proof as one that can demand for visual and audio surveillance of the environment cannot create safer communities.

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