The news: Amazon unveiled a Ring-branded at-home surveillance drone and an on-the-ground roaming robot.
How we got here: Ring’s drone has faced skepticism from consumer privacy advocates since it was first announced over a year ago.
The bigger picture: Though companies like Sunflower Labs, Nightingale, and Azure have offered their own surveillance drones for years, the market for small, affordable, indoor autonomous drones remains opaque.
But interest in drones outside of surveillance and security is picking up in the US:
How this could backfire: Amazon—and Ring in particular—risk jeopardizing recent efforts to soften their image and regain user trust by doubling down on some of its most controversial products.
In response to a litany of privacy and security complaints, Ring spent much of this year attempting to correct the ship by adding and expanding its end to end encryption for video streams and adding transparency around how law enforcement requests data.
Though public trust in Big Tech companies has dropped across the board in recent years, a recent poll from YouGov and the Center for Growth and Opportunity shows customers are relatively more comfortable sharing personal information with Amazon than its other competitors.
Unauthorized access to a home security device or a data leak featuring sensitive images captured inside a users’ home could end up damaging Amazon's comparative trust advantage.