Windsor Law Professor Kristen Thomasen was interviewed by CBC Windsor to promote a January 22 panel exploring public safety, security, and surveillance at the University of Windsor.
The panel discussed a proposal by Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens to have the city’s police partner with a video-sharing social network promoted by Amazon as a security system. Amazon Ring produces a doorbell which allows users to see, talk to, and record people who come to their entrances. Its social media app enables members to post videos of suspicious activity and crimes outside their front doors, and view those from other people within a specified radius.
Professor Thomasen believes the partnership raises a number of issues about surveillance in the community. "Some of the big concerns are that it's going to increase the amount of surveillance of public spaces," she said.
"There's an important conversation to be had around whether we want to introduce this kind of surveillance network that also is corporate," said Thomasen.
More than 700 police services in the United States have signed on, which gives them the ability to notify users in the event of a crime and ask for their relevant camera footage. In a September radio interview, Dilkens emphasized that talks were in the preliminary stages. Windsor would be the first Canadian city to use the tool.