Amazon Key, a gadget system that allows couriers to unlock your door, is the latest doohickey unveiled by the online giant. For a mere $249.00, Prime members can purchase Amazon’s Cloud Cam, a Kwikset lock, download an app, and open their door to anyone they choose with the touch of a smartphone button.
In what world is this a good idea? For the busy professional who feels their time is golden, maybe this is the way to go. But for the rest of the world, rescheduling and having the package delivered to a neighbor are more comfortable and less invasive solutions to what is hardly a significant problem.
How Does This Key Work?
Whether it’s the spectacular public relations push of drones hovering over your house and delivering packages, Alexa helping out with those tough parenting questions, or letting Delivery Dude into your home to drop off your new DVD player and steal your silver, Amazon’s technology is quite simple:
“The camera is the hub, connected to the internet via your home Wi-Fi. The camera talks to the lock over Zigbee, a wireless protocol utilized by many smart home devices.
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 voilà, your door unlocks. They drop off the package, relock the door with another swipe, and are on their way.”
It appears safe enough. And to Amazon’s credit, they have quite a lengthy list of checks and balances to ensure a smooth foray into door opening via virtual butlers. But as we have seen with Russia-gate, Target, Equifax, and dozens of other institutions, hackers can and will breach every possible security feature for fun or profit.
Alexa, Drones, and Now a Butler
Why do we trust Amazon enough to invite them into our homes with cameras and listening devices that gather data on us? We have become enamored with every new gadget released at warp speed, and the rush is on to keep up with the techno Jones’. Thanks to Amazon’s Alexa, one will never have to turn on the lights, crack open a book, or think in their own homes again. If the Zombie apocalypse does happen, or the doomsday preppers are correct, there will be a lot of folks trying to figure out how to put a battery in a flashlight – just sayin’.
Amazon Key is the harbinger of what is to come. It’s quite frightening for several reasons; but for brevity, I will list this observation from Forbes:
“If Amazon Key (and smart locks in general) take off and they become the defacto way of delivering? Amazon (and other companies) aren’t building trust but forcing you to trust them. If this sort of service goes wrong, it goes spectacularly wrong.”
Frankly, this creeps me out more than clowns—and that’s saying something.