Wanda Sykes has signed on to host an America’s Funniest Home Videos type of TV show. It won’t be showing clips deliberately captured using cameras or phones, though — nope, it will feature videos captured by Ring doorbells and smart home cameras. The show is called Ring Nation, and it’s a production by MGM Television and Big Fish Entertainment. If you’re wondering what the common denominator is between the three, it’s none other than Amazon. The e-commerce giant owns MGM and Big Fish, and it purchased Ring’s smart doorbell business for $1 billion in 2018.
According to Deadline, Ring Nation will showcase viral videos that feature content such as neighbors saving neighbors, marriage proposals, military reunions and animals doing silly things. In other words, videos you’ll probably come across online if you frequent social networks, unless the show will also feature fresh content that could potentially go viral as shared by Ring owners.
Barry Poznick, president of alternative television & Orion TV at MGM, said: “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.”
That Amazon wants to make videos captured by its smart doorbells a source of funny family TV can feel a bit too Black Mirror-esque, especially when you consider Ring’s relationship with law enforcement. Senator Edward Markey recently shared a disclosure revealing that Amazon had provided Ring footage to law enforcement in the US eleven times without a court order or the user’s consent.
A company spokesperson justified Ring’s actions and told us that the law authorizes companies “to provide information to government entities if the company believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person…requires disclosure without delay.” Tweeting about his revelation, Markey said: “We cannot accept this surveillance as inevitable.” He also used the disclosure as an example of why lawmakers should pass the Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act, which he introduced in hopes of banning law enforcement’s use of the technologies.