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To: Arlington County Board, Arlington County Manager

No Racist Tech in Arlington, VA!

No Racist Tech in Arlington, VA!

We are a group of Arlingtonians, tech industry employees and allies who are demanding a permanent end to any partnership negotiations between the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and Amazon’s Ring and the Neighbors App and a reinvestment of those funds into programs that address the root causes of racial discrimination like affordable housing, education, and mental health support.

Why is this important?

We are a group of Arlingtonians, tech industry employees, and allies who are demanding a permanent end to any partnership negotiations between the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and Amazon’s Ring. We demand that you reinvest the funds that would be used in this partnership into programs like affordable housing, education, and mental health support. This will allow our communities to thrive and move away from a world where the police are needed.

In this moment of uprising and protest in response to the despicable, racist attacks against Black people and the police murders of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and countless other Black people, we need our local government to take bold action to protect Black lives.

Who, exactly, does Ring and this culture of policing and surveillance protect? Because of HQ2, Amazon’s greed is already displacing our Black and Brown neighbors with rising housing costs, we don’t need Amazon’s Ring to profit off of mass surveillance, racial profiling, and incarceration of Black Arlingtonians. We know how to take care of ourselves and our communities. We don't need the police, nor their racist technology.

Ring’s partnership with the police violates our privacy and criminalizes people. As we have seen with facial recognition software, technology is not neutral, and in this case it amplifies the racist, violent behavior of the police as they terrorize our communities and encourages civilians to do the same[1] [2]. Users of these apps use code words like “suspicious”, “strangers”, and “I saw someone who looks like they don’t belong here”. This creates an arbitrary environment of policing each other, giving rich white people the power to decide who belongs.

Ring claims that police are required to follow a protocol to view footage captured by Ring home surveillance cameras. However, Amazon’s Ring/Neighbors applications are available to anyone regardless of whether they own a Ring home “security” system. This allows law enforcement to bypass any legal requirement and directly access video footage from homeowners' Ring cameras. Furthermore, Ring’s privacy notice states that Amazon may share Ring users' information with their affiliates, subsidiaries, service providers, and business partners [3]. Furthermore, law enforcement can request neighborhood footage using a subpoena, even if the resident refused to provide those recordings [4].

ACPD and Amazon work together—maintained by citizen policing and complicit silence—to constantly watch, and thus police and incarcerate Black people in Arlington for profit. You do not want to be on the wrong side of history in this vital moment. Other government officials are acting right now to stop surveillance and racist facial recognition technology [5]: Senators are introducing a bill [6], while the Boston city council successfully voted on a ban [7].

Our demand is clear: immediately and permanently cancel any data sharing partnership and/or negotiations between the ACPD and Ring/Neighbors App and invest those funds to support Arlingtonians in need of affordable housing, education, and mental health support.

Follow our Instagram @RacistTechOutOfVA + Twitter @NoRacistTechVA

If you live outside Arlington, you can still sign and support!

Sources:
[1] https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/43kga3/amazon-is-coaching-cops-on-how-to-obtain-surveillance-footage-without-a-warrant
[2] https://www.mercurynews.com/2015/09/01/nextdoor-when-a-neighborhood-website-turns-unneighborly/
[3] https://shop.ring.com/pages/privacy-notice
[4] https://www.govtech.com/security/Amazons-Ring-Video-Camera-Alarms-Privacy-Advocates.html
[5] https://www.aclu.org/news/privacy-technology/how-is-face-recognition-surveillance-technology-racist
[6] https://www.govtech.com/policy/US-Senator-Pushes-for-Government-Ban-on-Facial-Recognition.html
[7] https://www.masslive.com/boston/2020/06/boston-city-council-votes-to-become-largest-city-on-east-coast-to-ban-facial-recognition-technology.html

Category

Updates

2020-07-15 20:59:21 -0400

Thanks for signing on to our petition to end the partnership/negotiations between the Arlington County Police Department and Amazon’s Ring.

We’ve been working with a reporter on uncovering the details behind the contract. As detailed in his article, apparently Arlington County Police Department is no longer "actively" seeking a partnership with Ring. https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2020/07/15/arlington-police-wont-partner-with-ring-for-now.html

We know this means the talks might not be happening right now, but could be reopened in the future, and that those conversations will continue to happen behind closed doors.

We will remain vigilant on the issue and still be presenting this petition to the county board and demand transparency, as our concerns are still relevant regarding the surveillance of Black and Brown communities.

Thank you for your support! Black Lives Matter & Defund the Police!

In Solidarity,
Racist Tech out of VA

2020-07-12 14:00:15 -0400

50 signatures reached

2020-07-09 20:12:18 -0400

25 signatures reached

2020-07-08 21:38:20 -0400

10 signatures reached