Amazon TV show Ring Nation looks to make surveillance entertaining

23 Aug 2022

Ring video doorbell. Image: Ring

Hitting screens on 26 September, Ring Nation will feature viral videos from Ring security cameras submitted by people in the US.

In case you need something to watch while you’re waiting for the new season of Black Mirror, Amazon has a show coming next month based on footage from its Ring security cameras.

Hosted by comedian Wanda Sykes, Ring Nation is due to launch on 26 September. It is the result of a collaboration between MGM Television, Big Fish Entertainment and Ring, which are all companies owned by Amazon.

Ring Nation is slated to feature funny viral videos shared by people from their Ring doorbell and smart home security cameras. It takes inspiration from the voyeuristic video footage genre popularised by shows such as America’s Funniest Home Videos as well as on social media.

Videos in the half-hour show include everything from neighbours saving neighbours and surprise marriage proposals to military reunions and animals being silly. Ring Nation will compile the footage from voluntary video submissions sent in by people based in the US.

“From the incredible, to the hilarious and uplifting must-see viral moments from around the country every day, Ring Nation offers something for everyone watching at home,” said Barry Poznick, president of alternative television and Orion TV at MGM.

Founded as Doorbot in 2013, Ring was acquired by Amazon for more than $1bn in 2018 and brought into the company’s smart home division. Earlier this month, Ring announced plans to hire its first set of employees in Ireland with 30 technical customer support jobs up for grabs.

Ring has come under scrutiny for multiple privacy violations, such as when it exposed people’s home addresses through its Neighbors app, or when it was found handing over footage to the US government without users’ permission. Between January and July of this year, Amazon shared Ring doorbell footage with US authorities 11 times without the device owner’s consent.

Last week, security research company Checkmarx revealed that a “major flaw” in the Ring camera system and Android app could have potentially given hackers access to footage from the devices in real time. It added that Amazon fixed the flaw in late May.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic