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Amazon Key Will Let Couriers Inside Your Home and Yeah, We Have Some Questions

Amazon has announced the launch of a new service called Amazon Key, which lets their couriers unlock your door and leave packages inside your home. If you have a recurring problem with packages being stolen off your doorstep, this might sound great. If you have concerns about … pretty much anything else, this probably feels like a pretty easy pass. Concerns like, say, your physical safety.

I get how this benefits Amazon as a company. I do not fully understand what they thought the public reaction would be. I would be also really interested to know how many women were in on this pitch meeting and development process.

Or people of color.

Ostensibly, we’re supposed to feel safer, I assume, by the full service Amazon has developed, which isn’t as simple as giving Amazon a copy of your keys. Instead, you pay them $250 for a new smart lock that communicates with a “Cloud Cam.” The courier uses the camera to scan a barcode, which sends a request to the cloud to unlock the door. I suppose the camera is also meant to prevent any misconduct on the part of the couriers, but does anyone–especially any woman–actually trust any amount of corporate-designed safeguards to protect us when letting strangers into our private space? Uber assaults immediately spring to mind. So does hacking. So do a few other issues that are currently being widely discussed by people demanding more accountability in the tech industry.

On top of that, did anyone ask the couriers how they felt about this idea?

Amazon is banking on its customers putting a lot of trust in the company. And while people will sacrifice a lot for the sake of convenience, this feels next level. And it’s not just the physical intimacy of letting strangers have access to your home. It’s all the other things we ignore when we just want next-day cat litter delivery.

Amazon has been edging their way into our homes for a while. And many of us have been willing to ignore what that actually means on a practical level. We’ll ignore being eavesdropped on 24/7 because Alexa is just so damn convenient. But a physical presence in our homes might make it harder to ignore those potentially evil and exploitative corporate dealings.

Given the online reaction to Amazon Key, have they found the line of invasiveness that customers just won’t cross? Or do you think customers will forget their reservations in favor of convenience? What are your thoughts? Just remember, Amazon is watching.

(image: screencap, The Verge)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.