Amazon Key: convenient or creepy?



Opinion columnist Sam King discusses the recently announced Amazon Key, a service that allows Amazon Prime members to have a delivery person place their package inside their home to protect from theft and weather damage.

SAM KING, Opinion Columnist

The digital age has made many things more convenient for us, and shopping is one of those things. It’s so easy to find the product you want online and then wait a few days to get it delivered to your doorstep.

Amazon is the undisputed king of online shopping convenience. Amazon Prime allows fast, free delivery for an agreeable subscription price. I’m an avid Prime user myself. I recently bought some new speakers for 50 percent off due to one of Amazon Prime’s deals of the day.

Amazon may be king, but they’ve recently announced a way to step up their game by dropping your packages off inside of your house.

No, I’m not joking.

Amazon announced a week ago that they would start a service called Amazon Key. This allows Amazon Prime members to have a delivery person enter their home and place their package inside, which removes the problem of people’s packages being stolen or damaged due to weather.

This is a good solution to those problems at the cost of being invasive and creepy. It at least sounds creepy to me. I mean, I know I wouldn’t want a total stranger walking into my house and unlocking my door.

Now to be fair, Amazon does have a way to help this service seem less invasive.

For around $250, you can get a bundle with a camera and lock. The delivery person will arrive with your package and a notification will be sent to your phone. You can then access your camera on your phone to see the person and allow them to open your lock (Verge).

Since the lock is an Amazon product, the delivery person is only able to unlock it once you give permission.

Now, that does sound better to me; however, I still have some issues with the service. For one, the cost is $250. I may be a technology-loving millennial, but I don’t have that kind of money. I assume most college age and other young people don’t either.

Secondly, despite the security measures, there is still a lot that can go wrong.

In Amazon’s defense, they could have secure locks and monitor this stuff well. I’m sure it would be difficult for someone to rob an Amazon Key user.

Difficult, yes, but not impossible. It’s still hard to ignore that a stranger would be in your house and could potentially rob you.

I’m sure that the vast majority of these delivery people would never do something malevolent. It’s just like how the vast majority of Uber drivers are perfectly safe.

Despite that, there is always that small fraction of the population that can’t be trusted. A few bad apples may spoil the bunch in this case, as it doesn’t get more intimate than one’s own home.

In my opinion, I already feel like Amazon has too much of a presence in our daily lives. In fact, Digital Trends recently published an article about how much control Amazon is trying to exert on their consumers.

They can listen to you with Echo Dot or view your internet history, and now they can enter your house. That’s a lot of power for one company.

I’m sure Amazon has good intentions with this service, yet I just can’t wrap my head around it.

A $250 bundle that allows people to walk into your home isn’t something that I think most people want.

Although I don’t want my new speakers to get stolen by porch pirates, I can’t justify letting random delivery people into my home.

I’m just not comfortable letting people into my house when I’m not there. Even if I was home, I’m still not sure I’d want someone to walk into my house with a package, either. It just doesn’t feel right to me.

There are so many things that could go wrong. The chance of a pet getting out when the delivery person enters or leaves the house is an obvious concern.

And while package theft may cost Amazon, as well as consumers, a lot of money, it still may not be worth it to trust a system like this. At least not yet (NY Times).

For now, I think it’s a wise idea to wait and see what becomes of the Amazon Key. There could be a lot of issues to work out with this service, but it could potentially be beneficial for everyone.

Most new services or products don’t launch without at least a couple of issues — although most don’t involve this much of a potential privacy risk.

All I know is that I’m not ready to let a complete stranger in my house, regardless of whether they’re holding my new speakers or not.