Ringing Alarm Bells

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A study of implicit bias in consumer surveillance device use in San Francisco

Noting the rapid spread of Ring/Law Enforcement collaborative agreements in Northern California, Oakland Privacy embarked on a study of the content that device owners in San Francisco post to the Ring smartphone application “Neighbors”.

Working with a sample set of 131 videos drawn from the city of San Francisco and scraped by researchers at MIT, our volunteers reviewed the videos (several times) and accompanying post content.

Our evaluation sought to answer several questions:

  1. Did the video footage contain any evidence of a crime being committed?
  2. Was the title, category and text provided by the poster accurately reflect the contents of the video?
  3. What are the demographic features of the subjects in videos posted by San Francisco Ring owners to the Neighbors smartphone application?

Check out the results in our graphic Powerpoint presentation and narrative report below.

With data analysis and presentation by Heather Akers-Healy.

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