I'm sorry, Amazon. Not in my house

Commentary: I have some concerns about Amazon Key, which lets it deliver inside your house. Privacy is just one.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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What did the delivery person see?

Sarah Tew/CNET

My relationship with Amazon has always been healthy.

It's eager to please, has always behaved in a trustworthy manner and, if there's some tension between us, it's always proactive in solving the situation so that I feel good about it.

But now Amazon is asking for a key to my house. 

Its new Amazon Key service, launched today, is designed to ensure any  packages that get delivered will end up inside your house, rather than the porch or doorstep. 

The service relies on a smart door lock, the Alexa security camera Cloud Cam and a new Key app to allow the delivery person into your house while you're out.

Perhaps, like me, you'll be concerned that not every delivery person will simply drop the package off. Once they've opened your door, how could they not be tempted to peruse your collection of comics or wardrobe choices?

After all, isn't that what you do when you stay at someone's Airbnb? 

Trust is such a rare commodity these days that to offer blanket trust seems almost comical.

Amazon understands your reticence so Key will send you a notification and a video of the delivery. That will reassure you that no one has helped him or herself to a sip of your La Croix or kombucha.

Yet that leads me to more concerns. To enjoy this service, you need to be a Prime member, as well as pay at least $250 for the equipment. Is that truly worth it? And think of the coincidental privilege of Amazon having even more knowledge about you and your house. 

Just as with its exciting drone delivery, isn't there a worry that Amazon will have a far more complete view of the outside and inside of your house, allowing it to offer, say, insurance products?

Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Then there's the whole business of notifications and videos. Don't we have enough already? 

Say I order 100 things from Amazon every year, surely not an unreasonable number given how good the company's service has become. 

This means another 100 notifications and videos that demand my attention. I'm not sure I really want that. I'd prefer to use my phone less, not more.

Ultimately, though, whose problem is Amazon Key solving? Is it more to help those customers who are truly concerned by what might happen to their Amazon deliveries if it's raining?

Or, perhaps, Amazon wants reduce the time it spends administering claims of lost stolen or damaged goods, as well as gain even more knowledge about you?

It's interesting that Amazon also says this feature may be used in the future to let in your dog walker or your friends. Because the key under mat thing is far less secure, right? 

Coincidentally, committing Key for these expanded purposes sends even more information about your life Amazon's way.

You'll snort that this is the future and I should get used to it. Oh, perhaps. 

But I'm just not sure I'm ready for Amazon and I, you know, to take that next step. Would you try it out first, please?

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