MediaJustice

Press Contact: Madison Cofield, [email protected], 412.807.1777

Dear Mark Burnett and Barry Poznick, 

Through Ring Nation, MGM’s new show that airs footage from Ring devices, your studio is normalizing and promoting Amazon Ring’s dangerous network of surveillance cameras. Amazon Ring doorbell cameras and their associated app, Neighbors, violate basic privacy rights, fuel surveillance-based policing that disproportionately targets people of color and threatens abortion seekers, and enables vigilantes to surveil their neighbors and racially profile bystanders. Given the aforementioned harms,  40+ racial justice, civil rights, and privacy advocacy organizations are calling on MGM to cancel the Ring Nation TV series.

MGM and others affiliated with the show are hiding behind the concept of consent in order to rationalize airing Ring Nation. The individuals appearing on the show consenting to video surveillance in no way protects against the harms stemming from Ring’s surveilling communities at large, especially marginalized communities targeted by police.

The Ring surveillance network used to garner clips for Ring Nation does so at the expense of Black and brown people. Ring has a long history of using racially-coded dog whistles and weaponizing race to promote their products. And the accompanying Neighbors app gamifies the profiling and criminalization of Black and brown individuals. Footage from Ring cameras was used to track and monitor protesters who took to the streets, exercising their First Amendment rights, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. These are not isolated incidents. Racial profiling and racist policing  are core components of Ring’s business model, which profits off fear.

With over 2,000+ police partnerships, Ring poses a threat to Black and brown lives and violates fundamental privacy protections. A recent investigation revealed Ring has been sharing “private” user footage with cops—without a warrant or user permission. Ring isn’t just giving police departments access to surveillance data: it provides them with backdoor access to a mass surveillance network that operates independent of the Fourth Amendment and any oversight. In the wake of the reversal of Roe, footage from a Ring camera could be used to prosecute an abortion patient who goes out of state for healthcare—either by filming the clinic, capturing them leaving an Airbnb, or proving that they weren’t home for a few days.

Ring Nation attempts to put a happy face on a dangerous product. Not only will MGM’s Ring Nation further normalize harmful neighborhood surveillance, it will deepen the pockets of a corporation that profits from the criminalization of communities of color and surveilling the whereabouts and actions of millions. Ring Nation is an advertisement for a bleak vision of the future, in which private megacorporations surveil our every move, sell us out to law enforcement, and profit off racism and hatred. Does MGM endorse this future?

If aired, this show jeopardizes the rights and lives of viewers and their families. Ignoring the broader societal impact of Ring and airing Ring Nation would be reckless. We call on you to cancel Ring Nation.

Sincerely,

Action Center on Race & the Economy

Alternate ROOTS

Aspiration

Athena

Black Voices Theater Production

Center for Race and Digital Justice 

Comfrey Films

Demos

Detroit Community Technology Project

Dignity and Power NOW

Envision Freedom Fund

Fight for the Future

For Us Not Amazon

FREE! Families Rally for Emancipation and Empowerment

Generation Justice

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Jobs With Justice

Just Futures Law

Kairos

La ColectiVA

Main Street Alliance

May First Movement Technology

Media Alliance

Media Justice

MPower Change

Muslim Counterpublics Lab

OLE

Open Markets Institute

PhillyCAM

Progressive Technology Project

Secure Justice

Stop LAPD Spying Coalition

SumOfUs

SURJ Northern Virginia

Surveillance Technology Oversight Project

The Surveillance, Tech & Immigration Policing Project at the Immigrant Defense Project

United We Dream

Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

Weequahic Park Association

WITNESS

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