We don’t have time to get into the myriad reasons the Amazon-owned surveillance camera company Ring is a wildly insecure harbinger of an increasingly unpreventable techno-dystopian police state. What we need in this moment is just and swift teamwork: to determine who (if anyone) has footage of Ring’s CEO allegedly having a big long cry.
When the “smart doorbell” company sold to military- and law enforcement-cosy Amazon for somewhere in the neighbourhood of $US1 ($1.5) billion in 2018, its founder, Jamie Siminoff, may well have wept tears (of joy). This isn’t the footage we’re after, however. In the intervening two years, Ring quickly slotted into its parent company’s plans to become a web of all-in-one surveillance cameras that, among other things, surreptitiously supply video footage to some police forces—all while having approximately the same level of digital fortification as any other IoT device.
Little surprise then that hackers found ways to not only breach the cameras but also hijack their speakers—the most egregious known example of which involved some as-yet-uncaught jackass terrorizing an 8-year-old with the Ring device her parents had recently installed in her bedroom.
“Seeing that, that video of that girl, made me cry. And every time I think about it makes me sad,” Siminoff was quoted as saying in a recent interview with CNET.
Since one of the key metrics of his success is the widespread adoption of Ring products by American households, there’s a non-zero chance this supposed moment of self-reflection was caught on camera. With any luck, similar footage of Siminoff’s boss, Jeff Bezos, also exists. Some might say it’s cruel, even unhealthy, to delight in the misery of others—but when a comeuppance never arrives for those responsible for so much fuckery, we take what we can get.
For the aforementioned reasons Ring is an absolute horrorshow of a product, I’ll refer you to any of my colleague Dell Cameron’s reporting on the subject, or equally enviable scoops from Caroline Haskins for Motherboard and CNET’s Alfred Ng.