- Amazon is working to introduce Key for Business in the USA. With this, email ordering business gets a key to apartment doors to deliver packages faster and easier, like those Associated Press mentioned.
- For Amazon, this system means huge savings in time and money. Drivers can drive to more stations per shift, and the risk of parcel theft will be reduced.
- Critical voices assert that such a system can harbor data protection and security problems.
You no longer want to ring the doorbell and no one opens it – that’s what the online mail order company Amazon has to put up with. In the US, the shopping giant is paying more and more landlords across the country to give Amazon drivers the opportunity to open apartment doors themselves, just as they Associated Press mentioned. In some cases, Amazon is said to have offered financial incentives to introduce the system.
The service that has become widespread in the country is called “Key for Business”. It is common practice in the United States to place packages on the doorstep when residents are away. But sometimes, parcels were stolen or disappeared. To address this, Amazon wants to give its providers the opportunity to park packages in the entrance area of apartment buildings. Parcels will not be parked in front of the door and will be stolen frequently, which may save additional costs. In addition, it will save a significant amount of time on Amazon.
Data protection and security
Still, there are some things to consider. The system, which was first announced in 2018, may pose some security and privacy issues. When asked, the company said it would run security checks on senders who can only open the front doors if they have a package on hand to check. However, renters who live in apartment buildings may not know that Amazon employees have access to their apartment buildings. The company leaves it up to homeowners to inform their residents.
Many rental complexes in the United States are already equipped with number codes as apartment building door keys. Amazon will have to save codes for homes in one device. However, this does run the risk of being hacked, according to a data protection official. Ashkan Soltani was the senior technical advisor to former President Barack Obama during his tenure. He was critical of the Amazon system. According to Soltani, any device connected to the Internet can be hacked. Malicious actors can try to open doors. “You’re basically inserting a foreign device connected to the Internet into an internal network otherwise,” Soltani said. Regarding possible hacker attacks, Amazon has not yet released an official statement.
The company has installed the system in thousands of apartment buildings but has so far refused to provide the exact number. In some apartment buildings, a sticker with the Amazon Smile logo on the doorbell shows that the system is available there. Salespeople spread across cities across the country to get property managers to install it. Systems are installed and configured free of charge. Occasionally, people who agree to the system will receive a $100 Amazon voucher.
Key Action is in progress
Until now, only the US Postal Service could reach apartment buildings to access mailboxes. UPS has also gone through a testing phase with a smart lock company to enable employees to enter the building without having to ring the doorbell. However, this was discontinued after a shorter period of time without giving reasons. The company said customers could instead deliver their packages at nearby stores, as is common in Germany, when they are not at home.
Since Amazon has used salespeople across the country to persuade more property managers, the system has been on the move. To work in sales, the company advertises potential commissions from 3,000 to 11,000 USD. The total amount the company spends to enter the system, Amazon does not want to disclose. The company seems eager to establish order across the board. According to experts, the impetus for this may be the possible cancellation of the competition. For online wholesalers, Amazon will be the only delivery service besides the post office that has set up such an offer. If it is successful and privacy issues can be resolved, many competing providers can be replaced at the moment.
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