I like Amazon. A lot. The first thing I bought online was a book from Amazon, because that’s all it sold. I joined Prime when the only perk was free shipping. My Amazon Echo cost just $99 because I bought it during its invitation-only rollout.
I’ve had an account for nearly 20 years, a relationship longer than my marriage.
But there is no way I’m allowing Amazon inside my house when I’m not there.
The online giant asked me to be a part of its recently announced Amazon Key program. If I agreed to install an Amazon-accessible lock with accompanying camera, the drivers would start leaving my packages inside. The price is a somewhat hefty $250, though Amazon said it could provide professional installation for free.
Not a chance.
The Amazon Key program seems straightforward. Using an app on your phone, you’re alerted to the package’s arrival so you can unlock the door and watch the delivery via the camera. That way your package is safe from so-called porch pirates, who plunder the riches left upon doorsteps.
I’ve never had a delivery stolen from my porch, but even if I had, I’m firm about that “no strangers in my empty house” rule.
Even if a delivery person entered the home and went off the grid – suddenly your camera goes dark – Amazon would likely make it right, replacing anything that was lost while providing free shipping, if not a free year of Prime membership.
But what if one day you get an email from Amazon telling you hackers made off with thousands of virtual keys? It may assure you everything will be OK, which won’t stop you from installing a lock that requires a metal key, a method that kept civilization largely safe for centuries.
I’m hardly a technophobe. I bank online, watch TV online and listen to music online. One day soon I’ll upgrade to smart-home technology, turning on lights and setting the thermostat from afar.
It’s one thing to put a few light bulbs online, and quite another to have your front door on the internet. Four companies over the last two years have alerted me that hackers had obtained my private information. The latest was Equifax, forcing me to freeze my credit.
Should porch pirates one day take my booty, so be it. It’s better than having them chart a course into my living room and sail away with my real treasures.
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