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Amazon’s Ring has 29 new police agreements since the killing of George Floyd

That includes the Crystal Police Department, located several miles away from the spot where Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

A Ring doorbell

Ring has entered into partnerships with police departments and sheriff's offices in at least 20 states over the past several weeks.

Photo: Courtesy of Ring

Amazon's Ring has announced 29 new partnerships with police departments since the killing of George Floyd on May 25, public records show, drawing accusations of hypocrisy from activists who say Amazon's work on behalf of law enforcement is antithetical to its stated support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Activists and researchers offered muted praise for Amazon this week after the company announced it won't sell its controversial facial recognition technology to police departments for one year, responding to mounting pressure on tech companies to cut certain ties with law enforcement amid a nationwide reckoning over police brutality and racial inequality. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said he is "happy to lose" customers that do not support Black Lives Matter.

But Amazon is facing fresh scrutiny over its rapidly expanding work with police forces through Ring, the Amazon-owned home doorbell and surveillance company, which has worked for years to brand itself as a friend to law enforcement. Civil rights activists say Ring, and its accompanying social network Neighbors, enables the disproportionate surveillance and targeting of Black people. It also allows police to access vast amounts of video footage as long as Ring users give them permission.

According to data published through Ring's "active agency" map, Ring has entered into partnerships with police departments and sheriff's offices in at least 20 states over the past several weeks — including the Crystal Police Department, located several miles away from the spot where Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

The company also announced a contract with the Las Cruces Police Department in New Mexico, where a police officer is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter after placing a man named Antonio Valenzuela in a neck restraint during a February arrest.

Ring officials did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment. In a letter to Congress last year, Amazon's top lobbyist, Brian Huseman, said Ring's aim is to help people "protect their homes and communities."

"We're seeing a sea change right now in what's possible when it comes to policing and racial justice," said Maurice Weeks, co-executive director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy, which advocates for racial justice and Wall Street accountability. "Amazon, on the other hand, is just taking baby steps."

Ring, which maintains partnerships with more than 1,300 police departments, encourages its users to share "concerning" video footage captured through their doorbells with police departments and through the Neighbors app. Ring has often offered its doorbell surveillance systems free to police departments, encouraging them to disseminate the technology through their local communities. Reports have found many of the incidents that users report as "suspicious" involve people of color, and civil liberties experts have raised alarms about

"A lot of the places where Ring has contracts … are gentrifying areas, places where white folks are coming in, and then they don't feel comfortable because there's people of color," said Brandon Forester, an organizer with digital rights advocacy organization MediaJustice.

Groups including MediaJustice and Athena, an anti-Amazon coalition, say the company should cut ties with law enforcement in order to support the Black Lives Matter movement with action. Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy group, is circulating a petition calling on Amazon Ring to end its partnerships with the police, raising the possibility that Ring cameras could be used to surveil protests across the country.

"In light of Amazon's recent statement condemning police violence, we demand that you follow through on your sentiments and end Ring's troubling and dangerous partnerships with law enforcement," the petition reads. "These partnerships put community members and the general public at risk of racial profiling, overpolicing, and the potential for violence."

Ring so far has not made any public statements responding to the Black Lives Matter protests or to the escalating criticism around its technology.

Protocol | Workplace

The Activision Blizzard lawsuit has opened the floodgates

An employee walkout, a tumbling stock price and damning new reports of misconduct.

Activision Blizzard is being sued for widespread sexism, harassment and discrimination.

Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Activision Blizzard is in crisis mode. The World of Warcraft publisher was the subject of a shocking lawsuit filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing last week over claims of widespread sexism, harassment and discrimination against female employees. The resulting fallout has only intensified by the day, culminating in a 500-person walkout at the headquarters of Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine on Wednesday.

The company's stock price has tumbled nearly 10% this week, and CEO Bobby Kotick acknowledged in a message to employees Tuesday that Activision Blizzard's initial response was "tone deaf." Meanwhile, there has been a continuous stream of new reports unearthing horrendous misconduct as more and more former and current employees speak out about the working conditions and alleged rampant misogyny at one of the video game industry's largest and most powerful employers.

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Nick Statt
Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.

Over the last year, financial institutions have experienced unprecedented demand from their customers for exposure to cryptocurrency, and we've seen an inflow of institutional dollars driving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to record prices. Some banks have already launched cryptocurrency programs, but many more are evaluating the market.

That's why we've created the Crypto Maturity Model: an iterative roadmap for cryptocurrency product rollout, enabling financial institutions to evaluate market opportunities while addressing compliance requirements.

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Caitlin Barnett, Chainanalysis
Caitlin’s legal and compliance experience encompasses both cryptocurrency and traditional finance. As Director of Regulation and Compliance at Chainalysis, she helps leading financial institutions strategize and build compliance programs in order to adopt cryptocurrencies and offer new products to their customers. In addition, Caitlin helps facilitate dialogue with regulators and the industry on key policy issues within the cryptocurrency industry.
Protocol | Workplace

Founder sues the company that acquired her startup

Knoq founder Kendall Hope Tucker is suing the company that acquired her startup for discrimination, retaliation and fraud.

Kendall Hope Tucker, founder of Knoq, is suing Ad Practitioners, which acquired her company last year.

Photo: Kendall Hope Tucker

Kendall Hope Tucker felt excited when she sold her startup last December. Tucker, the founder of Knoq, was sad to "give up control of a company [she] had poured five years of [her] heart, soul and energy into building," she told Protocol, but ultimately felt hopeful that selling it to digital media company Ad Practitioners was the best financial outcome for her, her team and her investors. Now, seven months later, Tucker is suing Ad Practitioners alleging discrimination, retaliation and fraud.

Knoq found success selling its door-to-door sales and analytics services to companies such as Google Fiber, Inspire Energy, Fluent Home and others. Knoq representatives would walk around neighborhoods, knocking on doors to market its customers' products and services. The pandemic, however, threw a wrench in its business. Prior to the acquisition, Knoq says it raised $6.5 million from Initialized Capital, Haystack.vc, Techstars and others.

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Megan Rose Dickey
Megan Rose Dickey is a senior reporter at Protocol covering labor and diversity in tech. Prior to joining Protocol, she was a senior reporter at TechCrunch and a reporter at Business Insider.
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Protocol | Workplace

What’s the purpose of a chief purpose officer?

Cisco's EVP and chief people, policy & purpose officer shares how the company is creating a more conscious and hybrid work culture.

Like many large organizations, the leaders at Cisco spent much of the past year working to ensure their employees had an inclusive and flexible workplace while everyone worked from home during the pandemic. In doing so, they brought a new role into the mix. In March 2021 Francine Katsoudas transitioned from EVP and chief people officer to chief people, policy & purpose Officer.

For many, the role of a purpose officer is new. Purpose officers hold their companies accountable to their mission and the people who work for them. In a conversation with Protocol, Katsoudas shared how she is thinking about the expanded role and the future of hybrid work at Cisco.

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Amber Burton

Amber Burton (@amberbburton) is a reporter at Protocol. Previously, she covered personal finance and diversity in business at The Wall Street Journal. She earned an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and B.A. in English and Journalism from Wake Forest University. She lives in North Carolina.

Protocol | Fintech

The digital dollar is coming. The payments industry is worried.

Jodie Kelley heads the Electronic Transactions Association. The trade group's members, who process $7 trillion a year in payments, want a say in the digital currency.

Jodie Kelley is CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association.

Photo: Electronic Transactions Association

The Electronic Transactions Association launched in 1990 just as new technologies, led by the World Wide Web, began upending the world of commerce and finance.

The disruption hasn't stopped.

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

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