The new Amazon Key is a smart lock with a camera.

The New Amazon Key Lets People Into Your Home When You’re Not There

The New Amazon Key Lets People Into Your Home When You’re Not There

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Oct. 25 2017 12:46 PM

The New Amazon Key Lets People Into Your Home When You’re Not There

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Amazon’s couriers can now drop off deliveries inside your house.

Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

Amazon’s products include the Echo Spot alarm clock containing a camera and microphone for your bedside table, the Echo Look camera for your wardrobe, and the Echo smart speakers for your kitchen or living room. The company is now vying to claim jurisdiction over one more area of the home: your front door.

On Wednesday, the company announced a new service called the Amazon Key for Prime members, which allows you to remotely let people into your house—particularly couriers dropping off packages. The $249.99 bundle includes an Amazon Cloud Cam to monitor whoever you let in, a smart lock, and installation services.*

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The Key is currently available to customers in 37 cities and can be used for 10 million products. For the time being, Amazon will only allow its own delivery people to make the in-home drop-offs, but there are plans to extend the Key to other service providers like cleaners, house sitters, and dog walkers.

Big tech companies are increasingly encouraging customers to allow them access into the hearth and home. Google has also released similar products, like the Home smart speaker and Clips facial recognition camera, that collect way more data than you might think. This data is useful for companies to observe intimate details of your life, such as music preferences and eating habits, in order to target ads.

But Amazon seems to be hoping that you won’t give privacy a second thought here. The video promoting the Key features a frazzled millennial wearing a cat meme shirt who realizes that her parents are dropping by her place for her mother’s birthday. Her apartment is a mess and she forgot to buy a present, but she can’t leave her office. So she orchestrates the preparations remotely—using the Amazon Key app on her phone to let in a cleaning crew and a courier delivering her mom’s present. She can see footage of the people as they enter the house on her phone too. The upbeat Pixar-esque jazz soundtrack and Buster Keaton comedy all makes it seem like giving Amazon access to your front door and using one of its cameras to monitor your home is no big deal.

Then again, if you’re comfortable having an Echo in your bathroom and your bedroom, maybe this is just the logical next step.

*Correction, Oct. 25, 2017: This post originally misidentifed the new Amazon Cloud Cam as the Amazon Cloud Camera.

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