Image via Ring.
Amazon has a new plan to promote its Ring surveillance cameras: pay people who use their intrusive cameras to capture proof of alien life. The contest, Ring Million Dollar Sighting, will run during the spooky month of October. One lucky contestant will win $1 million, but only if they capture “Scientific Evidence of an Extraterrestrial sighting.”
“Sensors have been picking up rogue signals from the Neighborhood Nebula. Might be nothing. Might be something,” explains the contest’s website. Anyone who’s set up cameras in their home has a chance to enter and win the big prize. But, according to Amazon’s strict definitions, users may have trouble claiming the prize.The “Million Dollar Sighting” contest is Amazon’s latest scheme to make people think of Ring cameras as wacky and fun instead of frightening and paranoid. In 2022, it launched a television show called Ring Nation that’s like America’s Funniest Home Videos built from porch cams.Sold as a home safety device, Ring is really great at violating your neighbor’s privacy and delivering footage to cops without your consent. The American suburb is a paranoid place and Ring plays on those fears to sell cameras and generate reams of data for Amazon to sell. Advocacy groups petitioned the FTC to ban the cameras in 2021, but the plea failed. Meanwhile, Amazon has continued to expand its partnerships with police departments, making it easier for the cops to see what Ring users have recorded.Extraterrestrial means “any life in the universe originating or occurring outside Earth or its atmosphere,” the contest’s rules say. “The Extraterrestrial must take up physical space in order to be perceived by humans or cameras and have sufficient technology to be capable of traveling to and surviving within Earth’s atmosphere.”The contest defines scientific evidence as “an unaltered video (with audio) recorded with a Ring device” that meets some very specific criteria. “The Extraterrestrial exhibiting unusual, extraordinary, or unexplainable behavior, an explanation of why the anomaly is necessarily extraterrestrial in origin, the Scientific Evidence must unequivocally rule out any known explanations or any new Earth-based phenomena as an explanation (e.g., equipment malfunction, known aerial objects, atmospheric phenomena, recently discovered terrestrial species),” and “the Scientific Evidence must demonstrate that there was no alteration or malfunction of the Ring device on which it was captured.”Anyone who manages to capture the first hard evidence that America is being visited from beyond is entitled to $1 million paid out in $50,000 installments every year for the next two decades. But don’t worry, people who dress like an alien and goof off in front of the surveillance device they installed on their porch have a chance to win a $500 Amazon gift card.Having cameras plastered over our neighborhoods that automatically send footage to the police is bad, but at least we might get some wacky footage of kids dressed up as aliens narrated by Wanda Sykes.