Let’s all take a moment to thank Amazon, and their Ring doorbell division, for looking at ways to keep us and the packages we purchase from them safe … by profiling people via their eye color, fingerprints, skin texture, gait and possibly odor.
After all, something this well-intentioned could never go wrong, right?
According to a recent report by Business Insider, Ring has filed nearly 20 patents related to the development of a camera network that could capture all of these different traits and combine them in a sort of neighborhood watch database in identifying “suspicious” people.
Going a step further, Ring’s network of doorbell cameras could scan neighborhoods and use advanced facial recognition software, tied to the nearly 2,400 police and fire departments that Ring currently partners with, in matching the retinas, irises, voices and other physical identifiers in spotting troublemakers.
In addition to registering these individual aspects of a person’s appearance, the software could also use the bits and pieces obtained by a number of unique cameras in forming composite images of these bad actors. So, when someone is identified as suspicious by Ring or its users, house locks, alerts and even audible alarms could be triggered.
At the end of the day, the hope is that analyzing all these different traits could help identify and catch porch pirates and thieves who can currently escape capture by using a mask and hood that simply covers their face from a single doorbell camera.
All this data could also be utilized by Ring’s Neighbors app, which allows fellow Ring users to share camera footage of those deemed suspicious. This could then be used to trigger a Neighborhood Alert Mode that lets everyone using the app know when a person fitting these physical or biometric traits has been spotted in the area.
One would hope that applications could be expanded to help prevent bigger tragedies like home invasions or kidnapping.
Ring has been working on facial recognition tech since 2016, with work in this area continuing since being purchased by Amazon in 2019 – a company that just might have additional interests in collecting personal data.