Amazon wants the key to your front door

To cleanse the palate, let’s not be coy. You’re going to give it to them. Not all of you, but enough of you. If you’re willing to get in some random dude’s car because Uber says it’s safe, you’re willing to let the same random dude into your home when you’re not there because Amazon says it’s safe.

“The new service could represent a shift in how consumers think of Amazon,” notes USA Today. “Not just as the source of packages left on their porch, but as an entity they’re comfortable letting into their homes.” Indeed. This feature is really just their way of acclimating you to the concept of in-home service when you’re away. Their plans are bigger than mere package delivery. Aren’t they always.

The code the system sends to the lock is for one time only, and is only valid for five minutes after the delivery person first arrives at the door. Via the app and the lock, the system even knows how close he is to the door and may prompt him to step closer to the door before sending the signal to unlock the door.

After five minutes the door automatically locks itself even if the delivery person hasn’t locked it. If there is any problem with the lock or the service, the app instructs him to stay at the doorway and call Amazon customer service to ensure that the door is closed and locked before leaving, said Larsen.

The customer can watch the entire delivery in real time on a phone, via the Cloud Cam that is aimed at the door. He or she is also sent a time-stamped video delivery snippet on the phone to watch it later, as well as a message when the package is delivered and the door re-locked.

No one wants some sketchy delivery guy in their home, though, right? Well, Amazon insists it’ll be using only local delivery services whose personnel have been background-checked. Once you have a few packages safely delivered without the delivery guy walking out with your TV or trying on your underwear, they’re betting you’ll feel better about using other in-home Amazon-affiliated services like house-cleaning or dog-walking. Or how about grocery delivery? It won’t be long before the random Uber dude is standing in front of your fridge while you’re at work, putting ice cream in the freezer for you.

In fact, you can get that service already from Wal-Mart.

My first thought on watching Amazon’s ad was “Who’s the target demographic here?” If your neighborhood is dicey enough that you need to worry about packages being stolen off the front porch, chances are you don’t have $250 to waste on a high-tech door lock and webcam. The device makes more sense for apartment-dwellers but how many landlords are going to let tenants replace the locks? And what do you do if you have pets, especially a dog? I assume this is mainly aimed at under 40s who already order most of their stuff from Amazon and will get off on the idea of extra convenience via gee-whiz technology whether they really need it or not. I note that the ad’s heroine managed to afford Amazon Key even though she apparently can’t afford a couch.

And hey. With so many devices already in your home capable of spying on you, why not set up an extra camera and give Amazon 24/7 surveillance? In for a penny, in for a pound. Exit quotation via a Twitter pal: “All right, got your lock installed, just finishing set-up of the camer-aaaaaand it’s hacked.”