Amazon Key: Next Big Thing or Bridge Too Far?

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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16 Responses

  1. Zot says:

    Upset the applecart! Again!
    Amazon’s been dealing with problems about packages being stolen in cities. Now it’s the auto insurance company’s problem?Report

  2. Em Carpenter says:

    “…another tech-based reach in to our lives…” and like the other such reaches that have caused so much outrage lately, one that will only happen if we grant access.
    I would prefer this service over packages left on my porch to be stolen.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Em Carpenter says:


      Also, how is this a reach into a persons life for Amazon? Unless granting them access gives them your vehicles operating history (so they can get a feel for how often you stop at Wendy’s and change your oil), I fail to see the intrusion.Report

      • Frankly I’m better with delivery people with my car than around my home. Having worked at a ops supervisor at a transportation company I assure you drivers dislike going to peoples doors for a variety of reasons. There is an element to this where Amazon really has in mind daytime delivery to peoples places of work, schools, ect. The idea is most of those are congregated public areas and you are delivering to a relatively concentrated area as opposed to sprawling suburbs or scattered rural areas. Its convenient for the customer, but Amazon is doing it to help business. This is also setting up for when they launch their own delivery in a few years; if this works it’ll be an integrated part from the start. I’ll listen to the argument some are making over privacy, but these are not random people, Amazon has well covered liability on their end, so if people want to partake why not.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Em Carpenter says:

      Beat me to it. And far more succinct!Report

    • Jason in reply to Em Carpenter says:

      I’m lucky that my area is spread out enough that we don’t really get package thieves (at least not yet). So porch deliveries still work, and UPS tends to come later, when we’re at home already. Fedex and the post office are more of a problem since they often don’t even knock.

      But so far, package thievery hasn’t been an issue and I’m thankful for that; I’ve even thought about how I would have to change my online shopping if I lived somewhere else.Report

  3. Will Truman says:

    I don’t have need of it now, but I definitely could have in years past. I remember worrying all day if the package I ordered would be there when I got home. It’s just a pity that it is up to Amazon to solve it. I wish the shipping companies had solved it a long time ago.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    I don’t mind this one. It isn’t a product I would use. Here are the stories I imagine happening because of this tech:

    1. There are going to be people use commit theft with this product They will give your book or whatever but take whatever valuable item you left in your car (jewelry, a nice jacket, music equipment, whatever). If Amazon is willing to pay for the loss, I don’t care. This shouldn’t be a buyer beware kind of example. This should also be relatively easy to trace.

    2. There are going to be times when the Feds pressure Amazon to report on crimes (apparently the FBI pressured Think Geek to scan for child porn) and/or Amazon employees inadvertently find or think they find evidence of a crime. The first is obviously more problematic than the second.Report

  5. Maribou says:

    Having had my cars windows’ smashed in once, I would rather risk a few packages to fate, than risk having desirable stuff like amazon boxes in my car. (I also feel like Amazon will pay for my lost package, based on experience, but I have no expectation of anyone other than me or my insurance paying for my smashed-up car.)

    But that’s based largely on my perception of the relative likelihood of each thing. If other people want to let Amazon deliver to their cars, it’s kind of a “whatever” for me. If it became super-prevalent, it might lead to more car thefts in general, which would irritate me, but if that became the case, probably people would have things delivered to their cars less, and it would balance out.Report

  6. Aaron David says:

    Well, I have had packages stolen off of my step, but that was more an instance of living in a S*** Hole than anything else, then again, I would rather have something stolen than anyone getting into my house/car/anything. Two reasons, one I Don’t Know Them, and They Don’t Know Me. When I was with the phone company, a story that was relayed by one of the African American union guys was that when he was working in the Berkeley hills he was left alone in the house. The next day a necklace was reported missing. Of course he took it! Who else could it be? Turns out the son was caught trying to pawn it a couple days later. Second, when I ran delivery drivers, it helped that once you learn the route, you know where to park, where to leave a package, what doors to go through and all the other ins and outs of the premises. Cars, in a parking lot? It can change every time.Report

  7. dragonfrog says:

    Libraries have this figured out – they have night drop-off slots.

    I suppose the problem is one can order anything from a USB key to a 10 foot dinghy on Amazon…Report

    • Maribou in reply to dragonfrog says:

      @dragonfrog There are also problems with having night drop-off slots such that many libraries have shifted to having exterior boxes, more like mailboxes… arson, explosives, etc.

      I mean, you’re right about the size issue, but I was just moved to comment because… it’s yet another example of how every dang logical thing people come up with gets subverted by jackasses.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to Maribou says:

        Yup. As soon as people get at-home lockbox/drop off boxes, there are gonna be exes leaving unspeakable things in them, or kids filling them with mud for the lolz, or whatever.

        People. They’re the worst.

        I will say I’ve never had a package stolen from my house and in fact once when one was misdelivered (to the house down the street) they walked it down to give it to me. Granted, there was nothing valuable in it, but they didn’t open it so they didn’t KNOW that.Report

  8. fillyjonk says:

    Originally wasn’t there a version of this where the person could gain entry to a person’s house? I was really uncomfortable with that idea (given the potential hackability of such a thing – I would similarly not have a networked door lock).

    However, the “delivery to car” idea is not a bad idea at all. Unless you’re receiving chocolate and it’s midsummer (which would be a problem on the porch anyway).

    I don’t leave anything worth much in my car anyway. If someone REALLY wants my oldest field boots, a 40 year old workshirt, my beat-up mini cooler, and the cheap cloth bags I use at the natural foods store, they must be harder up than I am. And I doubt that my parking lot at work would be an attractive place for a smash and grab sort.

    Honestly, I’m more worried about my unattended house during the day, given the decline my neighborhood seems to be experiencing.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to fillyjonk says:

      That was the original thing I think, yes – you install a horribly insecure IoT (redundant descriptors, I know) door lock and surveillance camera system, so Amazon delivery folks can unlock your front door, and you can review the surveillance footage to see that all they did was drop off a parcel and leave.Report