Ring Inc. and Law Enforcement: The Cost of Keeping Neighborhoods Safe

by: Andrew Hoffman

Publication Date: July 27, 2020
Length: 14 pages
Product ID#: 8-938-615

Core Disciplines: Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Ethics, Information - Technology & Management, Social Impact, Strategy & Management

Partner Collection:

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Teaching Note

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This case examines the technology of Ring, Inc. and how the technology is used by customers and law enforcement agencies. While Ring and its partners report that its camera-equipped smart doorbell and related technology (working in tandem with local police departments) have improved public safety, there is increasing concern from critics about breaches of privacy, infringement on civil rights, and racial biases inherent in the algorithms of facial recognition.

This case provides an opportunity to identify the responsibility of companies with disruptive technology in a non-regulated industry, and also the role of companies that provide public services when a gap appears in the government’s provision of those services.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Understand the current and potential uses of Ring technology (including video surveillance and facial recognition) as they relate to law enforcement.
  • Analyze Ring technology’s benefits and risks.
  • Debate whether government agencies should or should not be involved with businesses such as Ring.
  • Evaluate whether private companies should provide services like public safety that are traditionally handled by government entities.
  • Assess emerging technology in an environment with limited regulation.