Amazon Wants to Send Strangers to Your Home While You're Out
In 2017, there's a fine line between convenience and dystopia.
Amazon has subtly infiltrated so many aspects of our lives; it has become our virtual department store, entertainment center, grocery shopper, even food delivery service. If that level of closeness isn't enough, the Verge reported this morning that the corporate behemoth is launching Amazon Key, a service that allows company couriers to virtually unlock your door and drop off packages when no one is home.
Some of us barely trust our friends to water our plants and feed our pets while we're on vacation, yet Amazon wants you to feel so comfortable (and so desperate to receive whatever you ordered) you'll pay $250 for the privilege of having the company pick your lock.
The service relies on Amazon's new Cloud Cam and accompanying smart lock, which you connect to your home Wi-Fi.
As the Verge explains:
When a courier arrives with a package for in-home delivery, they scan the barcode, sending a request to Amazon’s cloud. If everything checks out, the cloud grants permission by sending a message back to the camera, which starts recording. The courier then gets a prompt on their app, swipes the screen, and voilÃ , your door unlocks. They drop off the package, relock the door with another swipe, and are on their way. The customer will get a notification that their delivery has arrived, along with a short video showing the drop-off to confirm everything was done properly.
The locks are made by Yale and Kwikset, and the camera by Amazon. The company claims it's not offering Key access to any third-party companies, but still hopes you'll use it to schedule tasks like cleanings through its Amazon Home Services division. There is no mention in the Verge article of who does the background checks for the couriers, or whether the company can guarantee it's not watching you through the Cloud Cam at all hours of the day and night. Of course, as the Verge points out, "if you’ve already got an Alexa alarm clock keeping an eye on you at night, maybe it won’t seem like such a leap."
For those of us who enjoy our privacy, this makes stopping at the store after work seem suddenly much more appealing.
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