Cnet has a report on how police departments are being inundated with false alarms from Amazon Ring alerts because people have freaked out over the camera footage of innocent activities. In one case someone called to report footage of themselves walking into the door!
I’m reminded of a case that happened nearby just a month ago. In Manhattan Beach (near Los Angeles), police from five cities — and an LA Sheriff’s helicopter — descended on a neighborhood because someone panicked over Ring footage of a food delivery sent to the wrong address. It took them an hour and a half to confirm that there was no crime in progress.
The story basically filled a bingo card:
- IoT doorbell camera (and of course it was Ring)
- Gig/app delivery service
- Upscale neighborhood
- Paranoid reaction to, you know, people
- NextDoor posts quoted in article (because of course they are)
- Massive police over-response
- SMS alerts sent to neighboring cities
It was absurd. Fortunately no one was hurt or arrested, so it remains an absurdity, but between the waste of resources, the increase in fear, and the risk that something could have gone wrong, it fits right in with these other cautionary tales. As Fight for the Future puts it:
Ubiquitous, privately owned surveillance camera networks are NOT going to make our neighborhoods safer. They just make us all paranoid. Soon we’ll be snitching on our neighbors Red Scare style. Enough
A few miles from Hearst Castle, a trash collector spent fifty years cobbling together his house out of junk and found objects. As Cambria became more trendy in the 1970s, neighbors wanted him to tear down the multi-level “eyesore,” while others saw Nitt Witt Ridge as a folk art monument. It’s still there, and still a controversy within the city and its historical society.
This seems like the kind of roadside construction that would fit in with American Gods’ cosmology. More like The House on the Rock than Hearst Castle, despite the proximity.
And it turns out that the first of Wyland’s 100+ whale murals, on the wall of a Laguna Beach hotel, was later painted over as an “eyesore.” (C’mon, really?) But since then, a friend of his bought the building, and he’s recreating the original mural. On canvas this time, so he can move it if anything happens to the wall!
Because seismic waves are slower than internet signals, it’s possible to send an alert after an earthquake starts, but before the shaking reaches you. A few seconds’ warning is enough to pull over to the side of the road, climb down from a ladder, step away from a high shelf or window, put down a scalpel, etc.
Mexico and Japan both have systems like this, and Los Angeles has launched a pilot program with apps for both Android and iOS.
The other day I saw an argument that things like environmental regulations should be done locally, because if we don’t rely on the federal government, a change in administration can’t just roll back protections.
Ignoring the fact that pollution doesn’t stop at the city, state or national border, I can’t help thinking of crap like this:
California Escalates Battle With Trump EPA Over ‘Clean Car’ Rules
California agrees not to enforce its net neutrality law as Justice Dept. puts lawsuit on hold
where we are doing things at the state level, but the feds are still shutting it down.
Sessions, of course, used to be really big on “states rights” when he was representing a state, but now that he’s representing the federal government…
Not a surprise, given that people who talk about “states rights” rarely (if ever) seem to care about the principle so much as whether they can use it as a tool to interfere with civil rights.
Californians! Today is the last day to register to vote in time for the midterm election.
Don’t sit this one out!
Even if you don’t care which Senator wins, even if the propositions are overwhelming…
We’re choosing the next governor.
We’re choosing the House reps & state legislature.
For Secretary of State we’re literally choosing between one candidate who’s touting his success registering eligible voters (Padilla) and another whose campaign statement is all about how he wants to purge the voting rolls (Meuser).
So get online NOW. If you’re not registered to vote, register before tonight’s deadline.
If you are… Check to make sure you’re still registered and haven’t been dropped by mistake (it happens!) while there’s time to re-register.