Is this a welcome visitor? Three years after introducing Echo into our kitchens, Amazon would now like to take over the rest of our homes.
In the name of convenience, Amazon’s latest service for Prime members, Amazon Key, will let the company deliver packages or services directly into your living room—if you just install its smart lock on your front door and companion security camera inside your home.
Here’s how it works: When a courier arrives for in-home delivery, she scans a barcode that sends a request to Amazon cloud verifying she’s at the right home. Once the cloud gives the green light, the camera starts recording and the courier swipes an app on her phone to unlock your door. You can watch the delivery live or view it later on your phone. After delivery, the courier swipes to relock your door.
The service isn’t limited to packages. You can order a house cleaner or a dog walker, or anything else Amazon provides.
The brains of the operation are in the wifi-enabled camera, called Cloud Cam, which provides continuous home monitoring as well. It sends a notification to your phone whenever it detects movement and automatically records to give you a video view of what’s happening. It’s also supposed to get smarter over time, learning what movements do and don’t belong, so it doesn’t trigger just when your pet is walking around.
The entire arrangement, while perhaps convenient, raises cybersecurity questions. A dumb lock may not have the magical features of smart one, but at least you can rest assured that it won’t be hacked via the cloud. Having video footage of your home continuously uploaded to the cloud could also attract unwanted viewers. There are ways to mitigate these risks, but the burden is on the user for having the knowhow and diligence.
As Quartz previously found, Amazon has more user trust than any other tech giant. So if anyone can get access to your home, it’s going to be Amazon. Are you ready to hand over your key?