In an effort to boost convenience, Amazon may be exploring a new way for customers to surrender privacy.
Smart lock company August and connected garage door firm Garageio — two startups with ties to Amazon — are looking into ways to allow delivery people to leave packages in your house or apartment when no one is home, reports Engadget, citing subscription-only tech blog The Information.
On one hand, the ability to deliver items, even when recipients aren’t home, is a golden opportunity for Amazon. As Engadget notes, the company has tested “in-trunk” delivery already, in which packages are delivered straight to car’s trunks to connected Audi cars, without recipients needing to be on-hand.
On the other hand, allowing a company to enter to deliver a package into one’s house essentially surrenders the idea of the expectation of privacy in your own home.
In-home drop off isn’t going to be an open door policy. Wareable reports that August is developing technology that would allow smart locks to open for delivery people during certain windows of time, by using temporary pins, or via smartphones.
Still, in-home drop off requires a certain level of trust for a company (whether a startup or Amazon) and delivery people that the recipient has never met.
Smart homes and the use of the Internet of Things provides new questions. In a January Pew study, a smart thermostat that shared basic data was seen by those surveyed as the least acceptable invasion of privacy, compared to scenarios such as office surveillance cameras or retail loyalty cards.
There’s nothing wrong with Amazon developing tech that allows delivery people into your home (with consent). However, it is worth recognising this could be a new, more concrete way to sacrifice privacy for convenience — if that’s a sacrifice you are willing to make.
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