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A hot potato: How would you feel about Amazon having a key to your apartment building? Is it convenient or slightly worrying? Seeing as it can already access thousands of properties, there’s a chance the company already has one, and it's offering financial incentives to more landlords for installing the systems, according to a new report.
Amazon’s Key for Business allows drivers to make deliveries without needed residents or building staff to buzz them in. The system works through the Amazon Flex app—drivers request building access, which is granted after Amazon confirms the employee’s ID, route, location, and the time of the request.
Amazon says the Key for Business program allows goods to be delivered to building residents quicker, ensures a more secure digital verification of drivers, increases the success of first-time deliveries, and results in fewer stolen items.
But the program is raising security and privacy concerns among residents, especially with the risk of devices being hacked. Plus, Amazon leaves it up to landlords whether they inform residents of the building's entrance into the program.
According to Associated Press, Amazon salespeople have been partnering with locksmiths and approaching apartment managers about installing the devices. The company does this for free and sometimes offers a $100 gift card as an incentive.
AP writes that only the U.S. Postal Service has a way to enter apartment buildings in order to get to mailboxes. UPS experimented with a similar system in 2018 but ended the test without saying why.
Amazon unveiled its “key” delivery system in 2017 that allows drivers to open customers’ front doors and drop off packages inside. It expanded to include delivery to vehicles in 2018 and garages in 2019. Walmart has its own version—and can even stocks your fridge. Neither company has revealed how many people use these services.