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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Get ready for a debate over the role of private security cameras, particularly the doorbell cameras used in services like Ring and Nest, owned by Amazon and Google, respectively.

What's happening: Law enforcement and cities actively subsidize Ring cameras, in exchange for potential access to the footage, the AP reports. And some departments use Ring’s Neighbors app, which encourages residents to share videos of suspicious activity.

  • Law enforcement describe the footage as a digital neighborhood watch.

Why it matters: The reason for cameras is understandable. Packages get stolen off doorsteps and suspicious people might come to your door — or you just want to remotely let in a guest or service worker.

The big picture: The increasing worry is that the cameras will turn neighborhoods into places of constant surveillance — with the heaviest cost imposed on people of color.

  • Law enforcement and Ring stress that sharing the content is voluntary, but its existence means a search warrant is always a possibility.

The bottom line: "Tech that seems like an obvious good can develop darker dimensions as capabilities improve and data shifts into new hands," WashPost's Geoffrey Fowler wrote earlier this year.

  • "A terms-of-service update, a face-recognition upgrade or a hack could turn your doorbell into a privacy invasion you didn’t see coming."

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
39 mins ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.

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