Amazon Key lets deliveries be dropped off inside your house

Greg S

TS Evangelist

Following rumors from August of this year, Amazon has officially debuted Amazon Key. The new service is exclusively for Prime members and allows packages shipped from Amazon to be placed inside of your home using a smart lock.

An Amazon Key In-Home kit is required to make use of the new service. The lock kit retails for $249.99 and allows one-time access codes to be created so that delivery drivers can place a package just inside the front door. The Amazon Cloud Camera is a 1080p camera included with the lock kit and has low light capabilities. Motion sensing allows you to monitor any activity taking place. This new service is designed to help prevent theft of packages from outside homes, but there is an obvious new security risk associated with this. Allowing a delivery driver access to your home when you are not around so that your Prime shipments arrive on time is really not all that appealing.

All deliveries that take place using the Amazon Key service are recorded by the camera included in the home kit. Customers are able to play back the delivery live or go back and watch it occur after it takes place. Whether this is enough for consumers to gain the trust of delivery drivers and grant them access to their homes remains to be seen. Drivers have been instructed to only open doors far enough to drop a package inside and remain outside the door if possible. Even though steps are being taken to make the process as minimally invasive as possible, Amazon is entering new territory asking for open access.

Currently, Amazon is offering free professional installation for the in-home key kits as an incentive to try one out. Existing electronic locks made by Kwikset and Yale may be compatible with Amazon's platform, but a Cloud Camera is still required in order to make use of the whole system. Both the full key kit and standalone Cloud Camera are available for pre-order today, with the full Amazon Key service beginning November 8.

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BSim500

TS Evangelist
If you'd have told me 10 years ago that my favorite online bookstore would end up believing their customers would pay $250 for the privilege of serving their staff and not the other way around, I'd have laughed, but the extent their trying to push this (along with microphone-always-on smart speakers in your kids bedroom) is just "creepy weird"... Ain't happening Jeff. Not now, not ever.
 
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Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
So... I read the title and immediately thought... hell no! After reading the article it doesn't sound that crazy, as long as you are able to "control" in some way that they go in only to drop things and then go out, yet, it's bound to have problems. I would certainly not like it. I would prefer to pay for a security box that they come to install and where they are able to drop things in a secure manner without them having access to my home thank you very much.

If you'd have told me 10 years ago that my favorite online bookstore would end up believing their customers would pay $250 for the privilege of serving their staff and not the other way around, I'd have laughed, but the extent their trying to push this (along with microphone-always-on smart speakers in your kids bedroom) is just "creepy weird"... Ain't happening Jeff. Not now, not ever.
Even though I don't like the idea, reading your reply makes no sense... if you don't get your deliveries because there is no one home, you are not making it easier on them, you are making it hard on yourself, because after that you need to contact them to get a new schedule or you will have to go to the warehouse to pick stuff up... so I'm not really sure how it's a privilege to them.
 

cldmstrsn

TS Addict
You have a good idea. A nice security box would actually work out well if amazon would shell out for that and install it.
 

Slappy McPhee

TS Addict
Umm. No thanks. Nobody needs to be in my house when I'm not there. I'll pass on this one.
I could see where this could be of use if you have an entry room that also has a locking door. My parents have a house like that. They have a front porch that is enclosed and then an interior door with a deadbolt as well.
 
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stewi0001

TS Evangelist
Platinum
I personally do not need this but I do think that this would actually be appealing to people who do not have trustworthy neighbors.

I have seen news stories, in the past, of someone being caught on camera stealing their neighbor's package(s).

I want to agree with @cldmtrsn but a security box would not fit for everyone's home. Also, the size of the box would be up for debate.
 

BSim500

TS Evangelist
Even though I don't like the idea, reading your reply makes no sense... if you don't get your deliveries because there is no one home, you are not making it easier on them.
I don't know how things work where you live, but usually the courier / postman either leaves it with a neighbor (which takes all of 10 steps) or if they're out too, attempts re-delivery up to 2 more times. Only then do they put a "come and collect" delivery note through. So I still do (and always have) get them when not at home and have never had any problems going back 30 years. Mail-order firms have to expect that people will be working during the day, and even people normally at home (retired, housewives, etc) may be shopping, and be flexible to cope with simple effective workarounds (like knocking on a neighbors door or re-delivery). If they can't handle that, then their logistics system is simply broken and visions of "perfect 100% hit rates" by marching into unoccupied houses are pie-in-the-sky fantasy.

Likewise the "delivery driver behavioral" argument is paradoxical too. If we "need" to let them in because they can't be bothered to redeliver / knock on a neighbors door, either out of laziness or poor training, that sounds like precisely the same people you wouldn't want in your house under any circumstances. And how is this going to work with delivering large parcels to people with pets? Who is liable for a dog attacking / escaping? Does saving 10 seconds by refusing to leave it with next door really save time vs 10mins spent trying to prise a German Shephard off your leg plus 45mins getting stitches and bandaged up at the local hospital then taking a couple of days off sick...

What about burglar alarms or alternative electronic emergency / remote controlled front-door entry systems for the disabled, etc? If you got burgled with an Amazon lock whose codes are known by complete strangers by design, will your home insurance cover it or refuse a claim when they find out it's a "non-standard" lock or that you voluntarily gave away the code to a complete stranger which you couldn't even name ("self-compromise")? How much more will you pay on your premiums? What if Amazon's database tying key-codes to addresses got hacked / stolen from the inside? What about young kids who think it's a burglar and panic...

So many questions for a ridiculously risky system which seems to act like Amazon is the only mail-order firm on the net... Your idea of a "lock-box" in the garden is probably far saner, but even then spending +$250 just to tie it to one single brand / store as a substitute for refusing to attempt a re-delivery seems absurd. If I shop at 12x other online places and they all get the same idea, can they all use the Amazon one, and would Amazon be legally happy to give out the code to competitors, or do I need to spend $3000 on a garden now filled with "exclusive" lock-boxes making the outside of my house look like the inside of a Post Office. It sounds to me like all these layers of Amazon's convoluted "solution seeking" is basically an excuse for lack of half-decent "last-mile" staff training.
 

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member
I could see where this could be of use if you have an entry room that also has a locking door. My parents have a house like that. They have a front porch that is enclosed and then an interior door with a deadbolt as well.
That's a good point, but the problem I see with that is that once inside the entryway, suspicious activities such as picking and lock bumping are hidden from public view. But yeah, I do see your point. Wouldn't convince me to subscribe to the service, but if I were going to it would have to be something like that at least.
 

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member
I love Amazon as a service, but I think I'll pass on this. I'm sure Amazon's delivery drivers are excellent people (the ones I've met have been) but a few bad apples and all that.

No, what I'd rather have is real-time tracking of the sort you see in Prime Now. Let me know when a delivery driver is ~5-10 minutes away so I can be near the door to get the package right away, without the risk of a scummy neighbor waltzing by to kindly pick it up for me.
 

Slappy McPhee

TS Addict
I have decided to most likely pick this up and use it. The caveat being that I will build a bench that will be secured to the building with a door on it that the knob/handle assembly will be mounted in rather than using it on a house door. This way I can have packages easily secured yet not cause a possible breach.
 
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Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member
I have decided to most likely pick this up and use it. The caveat being that I will build a bench that will be secured to the building with a door on it that the knob/handle assembly will be mounted in rather than using it on a house door. This way I can have packages easily secured yet not cause a possible breach.
Actually not a bad idea.
 
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