Those who keep points can note the irony in Ring, an Amazon subsidiary that previously cooperated with the police for surveillance with its home products, now sells a camera for your car that can help protect travelers from the police on the road.
The public about police work has changed significantly over the past year and has become more debated in the wake of a series of high-profile police killings and protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, perhaps more than ever, people are training their law enforcement cameras in an effort to hold them accountable. Apple also recently debuted a Siri shortcut that automatically records police meetings for its iPhone, so Ring̵7;s new Ring Car Cam with its Traffic Stop mode is not unmatched. Let’s dig into how you use the feature and how it works.
Ring Car Cam is installed on the car’s windshield, much like any of the hundreds of other dashcams on the market. The device has two cameras – one pointing towards the road and one pointing into the cab – which record video as you drive. However, the device is also connected to the web via LTE (subscription required) and can upload video of specific events to the cloud for viewing in the Call mobile app.
Usually these events are fender bends while driving or bumps at night while parked, but drivers can manually upload a clip with a command or, in the case of Traffic Stop mode, stream video to the cloud.
Just say “Alexa, I’ll be assigned”
The camera has a built-in Alexa voice assistant, which is how you activate the Traffic Stop function. When you are pulled over, simply say “Alexa, I am pulled over.” Call Car Cam will then announce orally that it enters Traffic Stop mode and that it will be recorded.
While the Traffic Stop mode is active, video and audio captured by the camera are streamed to the cloud for later retrieval. At the same time, a message will be sent to a list of emergency contacts specified by the user during the initial installation.
Roadshow spoke with Ring’s head of mobile products, Nathan Ackerman, in a pre-announcement interview about how these contacts will interact with that message.
“The most important thing in these situations is to make sure you have the video and then we will stream the video from Car Cam to the cloud in real time,” said Ackerman. “We work through some of the insights about exactly when [emergency contacts] be notified if they can jump in and watch the livestream or if it will be available after that fact. For us, the most important part of this is that key people are notified when a traffic incident occurs and that they can soon have access to the video. “
Should you be concerned about privacy?
In a word, yes. The fact remains that this product is a camera that sits on your dashboard and sends video, audio and probably GPS data to the cloud. This is before you consider the information that can be collected about your vehicle and driving habits about, like its siblings, connects the camera to the car’s diagnostic port. You should be a little worried (or at least ) when taking a connected device to your home or car.