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Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Amazon Key Puts Deliveries -- And Delivery People -- In Your Home (wired.com) 122

An anonymous reader shares a report: Rushing home to sign for a package can be a chore, and nothing craters a day like having a delivery stolen from your doorstep. The question Amazon asks with its new Key app and Cloud security camera: Are those annoyances enough to let a delivery person into your home, unattended, to drop off a box? The answer should present itself soon enough, at least in the 37 cities in which Amazon will launch its new in-home delivery service as of November 8. There, customers who purchase an Amazon Cloud Cam, own a compatible smart lock, and download the accompanying Amazon Key app can grant access for in-home deliveries -- and watch the drop-offs live, remotely. The system, exclusive for Prime members, costs $250 to get started, a price that includes both the camera and a smart lock from either Kwikset or Yale. (You can also buy the cameras individually for $120, with a slight discount applied for buying multiples.) And while Amazon has gone to some lengths to minimize the creepiness of a definitionally invasive service, it still forces potential enlistees to consider just what kind of trade-offs they're willing to make in the name of convenience. Amazon says that in-home delivery will be available for "tens of millions" of items, whether it's sent same-day, standard, or any shipping method in between. As for those safety measures: Amazon's doing what it can to ensure that strangers don't game its system.
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Amazon Key Puts Deliveries -- And Delivery People -- In Your Home

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    As for those safety measures: Amazon's doing what it can to ensure that strangers don't game its system.

    I am pretty sure that is exactly what is going to happen.

    • And you only have to pay Amazon 250 dollars to give them the means to access live video of inside and outside your house and access to your door's lock.

      Oh yeah - and if you have a home delivery scheduled that day, they recommend you leave your home alarm unarmed.

      Large privacy concerns aside, this looks cool... especially if the videos don't count against your amazon drive storage. I already have this stuff set up at my house (moving to home assistant and pulling my smart home away from the cloud), but if I

      • Re:Safety measures (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @03:56PM (#55432361) Homepage

        Oh yeah - and if you have a home delivery scheduled that day, they recommend you leave your home alarm unarmed.

        .... what.

        So, anyone in the neighborhood who realizes that you've signed up for this thing now knows that your alarm is likely to be turned off on any day you receive a delivery. BRILLIANT!

        • From their site

          What if I have a home security system?
          Amazon Key is not integrated with home security systems. On the day of delivery, you will need to disarm your home security alarm.

          and it looks like you have to pay to store the videos from the camera if you want more than 24 hours.

          • From their site

            What if I have a home security system? Amazon Key is not integrated with home security systems. On the day of delivery, you will need to disarm your home security alarm.

            And lock up your dog and/or cat.

            • I don't have a dog or cat. Can I leave my snakes in the living room that day?

              Item ordered: $79.99
              Shipping: Free
              The look on the delivery guy's face: Priceless!
        • by suutar ( 1860506 )

          if you have this, you may also have xfinity's remote arm/disarm capability (I think I recall AT&T having that too) in which case you can probably manage to not have it off except when the delivery is happening.

          • Just about every security system I have encountered over the past 5 years has offered this ability.
        • Since Uber does food deliveries, I could see Amazon competing with Uber. Do home parcel deliveries and food deliveries with the same driver.

          Alternatively , imagine if my home was an Amazon depot for a radius of one mile (1.6km). Parcels could be delivered to my home, and the owners would advise me as to when to deliver them to their domiciles. I could benefit from some part-time work, and the Amazon parcel owner could get his item when he arrives home from work. It could work well in densely populated a

    • Just have the delivery people leave your package hidden outside under the doormat [express.co.uk]

  • by Seven Spirals ( 4924941 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @03:45PM (#55432267)
    No. Just no freakin' way. The folks they will hire as delivery folks aren't going to be well paid. I can see casing your house for a later robbery as being a helluva lot more lucrative. Having "cloud security" just means it's probably not working as well as a normal security system or being used/hijacked as a DDoS zombie. Call me a Luddite, but I gotta say "Not just no. Hell no, Amazon."
    • Also I wonder what your homeowner's insurance policy will have to say about this.
      • by naughtynaughty ( 1154069 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @06:34AM (#55435613)

        Why don't you take a look at your homeowner's insurance policy and let us know.

        Mine is fine with me letting landscapers in the backyard and a maid in to clean my home, even when I'm not home. No loss of coverage.

        Your policy is unlikely to be any different.

        Or maybe you are referring to the future when you think homeowner's policies won't cover me if I let a landscaper in the backyard or a maid in my house?

        • Over here, if stuff goes missing from your home and there's no sign of forced entry, insurers will generally give you a hard time about paying up. That includes the maid making off with the silverware, though in the end they will probably pay. More importantly, my policy specifies I must use at least SKG 2 star (a Dutch lock certification) or better locks and fittings. I've messed with a couple of electronic locks (work related, I am not using them at home except on the shed), and while it's possible to
    • A prerequisite of this system is a camera, so presumably you'd be able to tell if they were spending an inordinate amount of time in your house. I already have an electronic lock on my side door, and it technically works with Z-Wave, but I'd still have work to do to make this feasible. First I'd need to buy the Amazon camera. Then I'd need to get a different lock, because this one isn't compatible with Amazon's camera despite supporting Z-Wave. Then I'd need to buy the Z-Wave module for my Napco burglar ala

      • by zlives ( 2009072 )

        i think you are missing the point, that being that your home needs to be a walled amazon garden...

        • Not really - it seems to need a single Amazon-branded camera and a compatible lock.

          • by zlives ( 2009072 )

            and who else can deliver to you in this way other than amazon delivery person with packages from amazon. unless you are suggesting you are going to get a different camera and key from every other vendor you shop from as well.

            • So long as you can hook up more than one camera to your network, you aren't "locked in". If they are the only ones doing this, then the point is moot anyway.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        A prerequisite of this system is a camera, so presumably you'd be able to tell if they were spending an inordinate amount of time in your house

        Define inordinate amount of time, because before making a delivery, I can simply set my cellphone camera to record (in 4K!) video, put it in my front pocket, and then unlcok your door and presumably deliver the package to someplace, like maybe your dining room table or something which will require me to do some basic exploration.

        • I don't know what you keep in your foyer, but perhaps you could have your butler hide it before the Amazon delivery guy comes?

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      Delivery drivers in Silicon Valley get paid $15/hour. That's slightly more than what a Dell tech gets paid to drive 600 miles every week.
      • The reason people find you annoying is because you state things as facts that don't make any sense. Your claim is that all delivery drivers in Silicon Valley make $15/hour. No more, no less. And all Dell techs make less than that and they drive 600 miles every week. You don't know what you are talking about.
    • They can do like they always do. Leave it at my back door.
    • A lot of people have a locked porch or entryway, and they could use this to let the delivery people into that area, with the actual front door still locked.

      I think every house in San Francisco has that sort of gated porch.

      If this becomes a regular thing, I'd expect nice houses all over the country to start adding it as a standard feature.

  • I thought they were going to be delivering everything by drone and/or autonomous vehicles. I'm sure people will jump on this. Only $250 to protect Amazon from refunding people from stolen packages? Sign me up!
  • New house style? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ctilsie242 ( 4841247 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @03:50PM (#55432305)

    I can see a new house style with either a second building like an external garage or an isolated room with its own door, with a fridge/freezer just for Amazon or other deliveries. One door would be for the deliveryperson to drop off the goodies, and another person could just open it up when inside to get stuff. That way, if the lock was forced or compromised, it wouldn't mean access to the entire house.

      • A mantrap is similar, but this is more of a vestibule for someone to put stuff in a secure spot without having access to the rest of the place. Perhaps it could be done by having a little hallway with a door at each end. It wouldn't need to have one door be locked for the other to be opened, but is intended to be a space to ensure stuff is secure from the outside, while keeping the rest of the home secure.

        One could always get away with a dumb waiter type of mechanism with a multiple story house as well.

      • My voice is my passport. Verify me.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      or an isolated room with its own door, with a fridge/freezer

      Just like an attached garage.
      Maybe all a lot of people will need to do to get that is find a place to cut a normal sized door into their garage, so they can put a smart lock on that while the main garage door stays shut.

      Then paint a clearly designated area on the ground where the vehicles park when people get home, and a clearly designated area for packages to be left.

      • or an isolated room with its own door, with a fridge/freezer

        Just like an attached garage.

        In my country we call it a porch or entry-way, depending on the style.

    • by Speare ( 84249 )
      In Japan, you can buy a special locker which the delivery companies can open. Inside it, you have a small tethered "signature stamp" so they can drop off a package and stamp their paperwork with your stamp. The lockers vary from flimsy vinyl rainproofing tents to steel boxes, and you can buy any of them from Amazon.JP.
    • by taustin ( 171655 )

      The apartment complex I live in has four fairly large mailboxes for packages. The mailman just leave they key in your mailbox. I would imagine it wouldn't be all that hard to adapt such a system to other delivery services, too.

      On the other hand, it's a hell of a lot easier to just have stuff delivered to work. Like everybody else that works here does.

      This is (for me, at any rate) the most pointless service Amazon has ever come up with.

      • Most people above the age of 27 don't live in apartment complexes any more.

        • Most people above the age of 27 don't live in apartment complexes any more.

          Looking around at sources, I'd say you're out of date. Home ownership at lower ages peaked at 2004 and have been dropping since then, now being at an all time low. You pretty much have to get above the 35 year mark to get to an age group that is mostly home owners these days.

      • Yeah, that's pretty much the exact solution I and everyone I work with uses. If it's more valuable than some paper towels, ship it to the office. Secretary signs for it, shoots me a text, I put it in my car at some point during the day. Bonus: no unexpected "we tried to leave your package but nobody was available to sign for it, we will try again or you can drive across town to the UPS depot" messages.
      • Same for me, the problem is when the mailman scan and tag your parcel as "Delivered in the community box" but put the key in another mailbox, so you never get your parcel, and have to fill a complaint with the shipping company who answer "tracking say it was delivered"...

      • On the other hand, it's a hell of a lot easier to just have stuff delivered to work. Like everybody else that works here does.

        And obviously, everybody works where you do, and has access to the same transport home as you do, so they can all do what you do.

  • by Anon E. Muss ( 808473 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @03:53PM (#55432329)

    Install a dropbox to receive packages. Same thing UPS and FedEx use. Easy to put stuff in, but hard to get anything out unless you have the key to open it.

  • Get a mailbox at the UPS store or other private mail box store. They will accept packages and you can pick them up later at the store. I think the next step for Amazon will be to want access to the fridge to put things away. This way does not open the house up or require a lock that is on the internet and subject to hacking.

    • With this as an option, Amazon just looks like a creepy stalker ex. "C'mon, just let me in, okay?" Save money, don't take the risk of getting a shocking suprise when you get home (delivery driver's friends.)
    • I think the next step for Amazon will be to want access to the fridge to put things away.

      That is already part of the service if you are buying perishable items through them. It isn't "the next step".

      Does your UPS store have a freezer/fridge to store your Amazon deliveries?

      To those who post things like "no way", ok, we get it. Not every service that every company might provide is something you'd want to use. That doesn't mean there aren't people who will want this, and most of them don't care that you don't. In fact, I'm guessing that the only person who really cares that you don't want this s

  • Okay, first off, the one thing that they do right in this whole thing is that it's literally "buy in" (rather than opt in), because you have to purchase the lock/camera/scanner tech-package. If you don't want this service, don't buy the damn thing.

    But I don't think they've really thought this out in terms of how the public is going to respond. I mean, I don't like rushing home to sign for a package, but then, I live in an apartment building, so they're supposed to be leaving the packages at the front office

    • They already do 1 or 2 options right now. They leave it in my backyard at my backdoor. OR they leave this neat little high tech slip of paper detailing the precise GPS location I can pick up box with slip & ID. To me these are working pretty well up until this point.
      • They leave it in my backyard at my backdoor.

        Nice. I almost never go out my backdoor, so any package they deliver there would sit in the cold rain, slowly decomposing.

        OR they leave this neat little high tech slip of paper detailing the precise GPS location I can pick up box with slip & ID

        After I complained about UPS prying open a locked screen door to hide two packages (the second was a replacement for the first, which I didn't know was there because UPS HID IT FROM ME), they left me a delivery notice for the next "package". That "package" was the size of a CD mailer (square envelope), and the pickup point was ten miles out of town, open during business hours.

        It didn't

    • You live in an apartment. They don't care if you react with anger or jealously.

      The customers of this service mostly live in houses, or at least fancy condos. People who live in fancy houses are often already accustomed to having workers inside their house while they are away; it is just a fact of life if you're getting some part of the house remodeled every couple years. Or if you have a housekeeper.

      Keep in mind, their valuables are insured, they have security cameras, and the important stuff is in a safe.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I heard an interview last week with one of their "drivers" who got arrested for using heroin while driving....they found a bunch of amazon packages in his trunk and thought they caught a porch thief. But noooo, he had all the right creds to prove he was a delivery driver. He had just got out of prison for home robbery, the car he was using was stolen, he was on heroin and he had no divers license....this is who they want to give access to my house while I am at work? HAHAHA, they are going to get sued until

  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @03:54PM (#55432343) Homepage Journal

    How many times do we have to read about this story?

    • by jbn-o ( 555068 )

      Perhaps until the "slashvertisement" pays off for those who stand to benefit from the repetition.

  • I've met some of the Amazon delivery drivers, and I wouldn't trust any of them with the key to my mailbox, let alone the key to my house.

  • How about a big cup of NO!

  • by hal2814 ( 725639 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2017 @04:01PM (#55432403)
    In my area Amazon does a lot of their own delivery, especially on same day or next day Prime. Out of the 12 things I've bought from them using their own couriers only 8 ever got to me. USPS, FedEx, and UPS have all been 100% during that time. I think maybe Amazon should focus on actually getting to my house before they worry about whether or not I'll let them inside.
  • by ledow ( 319597 )

    Just buy a large secure drop-box. Then any company can use it, and nobody can get to your parcels.

    Hell, stick a cheap Wifi camera on it so you can see who's playing about with it from your phone.

    Giving away literal access to your entire home, as well as 24/7 access to a camera inside your property, to allow someone to deposit a parcel is ludicrous and unnecessary given cheaper, better alternatives that don't tie you into a company like Amazon.

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      What if you live in an apartment?
      • As more people get packages delivered I'd expect more apartment complexes to offer this service. Much like how people in apartments used to not be able to get cable TV because the installers wanted to drill holes in the wall to run a wire. Soon enough cable TV availability was a necessity, or even provided from the start and included in the rent. The difference with a secure drop off box is that there is no need to make any significant changes to the architecture or have much for recurring maintenance co

  • Am I the only one that thinks this is VERY creepy?
  • I wonder how many people are going to come home to find Fluffy outside because it got out when the door opened.
    Well hopefully Fluffy stays away from the road.

  • Their old business model was similar, but without the cameras:

    https://www.schwans.com/ [schwans.com]

    When I was a kid, you'd give them the house key and they would show up while you at work and put stuff in your refrigerator and freezer. It looks like they don't do that anymore.

  • Sarah Cooper: "I used to be an Amazon Key courier, now I'm your roommate" (From Twitter [twitter.com])
  • Maybe now I can have Amazon deliver something and when they unlock the door, I can escape from this Ecuadorian embassy and finally clear my name!

    • If you jump out the window, $20 says Scotland Yard catches you before you hit the sidewalk! Don't be scared, you can do it!

  • So let me get this straight: you have web-connected cameras and microphones IN YOUR HOME, and you're going to let strangers INTO YOUR HOME when you're not there, just to drop off some goddamned package? Really? Are you insane!?

    I've warned about shit like this for years and years now, and I've always been scoffed at; "LOL you're paranoid, nobody is going to put cameras and microphones in our houses, that's crazy talk!". But here we are, in 2017, and you're voluntarily putting cameras and microphones in y
  • Many decades ago, some people would give their milkman a key so that he could put the milk etc. in the icebox. However, you knew who the milkman was and probably where he lived.
    • And if you didn't know where he lived, you just followed the trail of horse hoofprints/poop from his wagon ... uphill, both ways, in the snow.

      Get off my lawn.

  • sign up with UPS / FedEx to have all packages for your address held for pickup at a local UPS / FedEx store. I have mine setup to default to this. UPS is a block away, FedEx is 3 or 4 miles and on my way home from work. No more worries about packages exposed to weather, curious kids, thieves etc... works for me.
    • by temcat ( 873475 )

      This. I don't live in the US, but I use the local equivalent of this service whenever I can. Prevents many kinds of delivery headaches.

  • No thanks!

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