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Amazon Key – Epic Trust Fall

I expect extraordinary oversights in security and privacy from Google, it’s just who they are, but Amazon really went for crown this week with the announcement of Amazon Key. It basically boils down to letting couriers (and many others) into your house.. without you being there.

amazon key

Amazon Key – Giving A Key To Everyone

To the idealistic, this may be of fantastic convenience. And granted, Amazon goes to great lengths to ensure your security and privacy. They sell kits starting at $249 USD that includes a Smartlock and internet connected security camera. The purpose of the security camera is to train on the door so that when a delivery arrives you can watch they don’t try and steal your VCR… DVD… Blueray.. ok.. PS4? On the surface, that sounds secure, and combined with their promise of extreme vetting it might just work in an idealistic utopia. But, we live in the real world, and as personally trusting as I am (my wife claims I’m gullible in fact) I still don’t like the idea of allowing a stranger into my home while I’m away.

I embrace new technologies readily, and when smart locks first started coming onto the market, I was ready to leap! The idea of not having to worry about my keys, just walk up and BOOM, open sarsaparilla! Being able to remotely unlock your door for service people or family, friends sounded great on the surface; but on retrospect… has there really been that many times I’ve needed to do that? Yea, I can sue a company to the moon if one of their employees decides to help themselves to my stuff, but does the convenience outweigh the risk?  Well, I don’t have a scmartlock yet.

The past few years have shown us that Smartlocks aren’t quite as secure as we’d like, along with issues getting software updates to them, the’ve been hit or miss. When it comes to computers, if your car can be hacked, so can your smartlock.

The first line of defence in Amazons system has been shown to be far from infallible, what about the camera? It’s a camera, and there is no reason to expect it not to work… but as Twitter has laughed about.. it will allow you to watch your home being robbed in full HD! It’s a great idea though, you can get a notification from your scmartlock, and tune into your camera to keep an eye on things… but yea, there is nothing to stop the worst case scenario from happening. The logical progression in the USA would be smartphone controlled AR-15 paired with the camera.

The Human Factor

Here is the big wooden sandal in Amazons vast machine. People. We can safely assume Amazon will only allow well known companies to deliver this service, but people will undoubtedly slip through the cracks. And what if you are too busy to watch the delivery happen? Amazon is using simple and readily available technology to enable this service, but they are expecting us to simply trust them and their vetting process. This process better go pretty far, because they don’t only plan on allowing couriers into your home; they want to allow dog walkers, cleaners, inspectors and pretty much every Tom, Dick & Harry into your house under the system… and we just need to trust them.

I think society will have to change a great deal before we are ready for this. Vetting is far from perfect, and that person may not even be the bad guy, they may sell information to bad guys, like when you are home and not, details of your layout or security system, what shiny things they saw while dropping the package, the bluetooth ID of your smartlock… jeez, I better get fitted for my tin foil hat.


It seems that corporations are increasingly probing our privacy. Testing the edges of just how far we’ll let them go. Google is turning us into advertisement resources and billboards, companies harvesting and selling our information, Amazon trying to have unfettered access to our house. I would love to have full trust in everyone, but what happens if some asshat decides to stay behind in the house he delivered to and rape the owner? What happens when the stalker figures out a way to manipulate the system and gain access to your home? When some kid develops a handheld transmitted that can break smartlock encryption with just a zap? We have accounts of hacked security cameras spying on us. Google and Amazon are already listening in our homes with the Home and Dot, just how much further do we allow this to go?

amazon key

Damn… I’m not going to home to receive this….


Who could have possibly anticipated this… people don’t in fact trust the service at all…

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Ryszard (Rick) Gold, From Calgary, Alberta, Canada has over 20 years of experience working with Apple products in a technical capacity. Passionate about technology in general, his natural troubleshooting abilities, curiosity and appreciation of good design lead him into working exclusively with Apple Computer products.
Ryszard Gold
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