“In a bid to bolster its claims as a crime-fighting tool, Ring deployed a tactic popular in the business world: influencer marketing,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “It selected a cadre of brand ambassadors, rewarded them with free gadgets and discount codes, and urged them to use their connections to promote the Santa Monica security camera startup via word of mouth.
“In this case, the brand ambassadors were Los Angeles Police Department officers.”
“You are killing it, by the way. Your code has 14 uses, eleven more and I will be sending you every device that we sell,” a Ring employee wrote to one officer in a 2016 email. “Do you have any community meetings or crime prevention fairs coming up?”
Ring provided at least 100 LAPD officers with one or more free devices or discount codes and encouraged them to recommend the company’s web-connected doorbells and security cameras, emails reviewed by The Times reveal. In more than 15 cases, emails show that officers who received free gadgets or discounts promoted Ring products to fellow police officers or members of the public… [P]articipating officers got tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of free and discounted electronics and helped establish a network of personal surveillance cameras that the LAPD could tap into with much less red tape than the typical means of obtaining video.
The practice, privacy and criminal justice experts warn, raises the question of whether LAPD officers were serving the public in their interactions with Ring, or if they were serving a private business and themselves…
It’s unclear whether LAPD officers disclosed their arrangements with Ring to the public or fellow officers.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Source: Slashdot – Ring Once Gave Free Cameras to 100 Los Angeles Police Officers