This is such crap. If they really were committed to making things right in the event of a problem, they wouldn't have to fear being sued. You want me to believe that you'll protect my most valuable asset after I give you free access to it, but you'll make me trust your good intentions and the judgment of an arbitrator you probably picked?
Seems to me that the right to sue should be considered fundamental, and binding arbitration should be made illegal.
Take the "court room" TV shows like Judge Judy, they are an example of binding arbitration that both parties benefit from. The producers look for cases pending in small claims court and offer them to drop their case and settle their dispute in arbitration instead, that arbitration is what's shown on TV. The show pays all parties an appearance fee plus travel expenses and the show pays any judgement that is awarded instead of the defendant. Since it's not a judgement it doesn't show up on public records so it wouldn't affect the defendant's credit report or public records.
Being forced into binding consumer arbitration is certainly terrible and ought to be illegal. Arbitration should not be forced when one party has significant less power than the other. Especially when only one party gets to pick the arbitrator.
I agree that the kind where both parties come together and agree, for a specific case, to engage in arbitration and be bound by the result is OK. The kind where you agree beforehand, when no damages have occurred, that if any case comes up then you will both go to arbitration instead of court, is not OK.
Look at the NFL and the players’ association. They have an arbitrator, the very capable Professor Stephen Burbank, handling disputes. Both sides (and the courts) strongly prefer this to having to go to court.
Arbitration is more controversial when foisted upon consumers in contracts of adhesion, i.e. the take-it-or-leave-it contracts you sign all day at stores, amusement parks, websites, etc. Also very controversial is that arbitration clauses are now being used to prevent class action litigation altogether. In those cases, the Supreme Court has nevertheless upheld it through a very broad reading of the Federal Arbitration Act.
Another way to state the same thing: very few people enter a contract contemplating that they will be the one breaching it, so they are willing to agree to a system for efficiently adjudicating conflicts. But circumstances change and make breach attractive for a particular party, and at that point they will want to protect their advantage, fairness to the other party be damned.
I think you're justified in having concerns about arbitration, but I don't think the line that you're drawing is the right one. Focusing on the nature of the relationship between the parties might be a more fruitful approach. I don't see any reason why two sophisticated entities, truly engaged in back-and-forth negotiations where each has leverage, should not be allowed to agree to binding arbitration between them for future disputes.
For broad definitions of 'people', I don't think this is true. I am utterly certain that businesses enter into these contracts secure in the knowledge that it is much more likely that wrongs will be alleged against them under the contract than that they will need to allege wrongs against the contractee, and that businesses feel that arbitration is likely to favour them. If businesses didn't believe at least the latter, or even if there were just divided opinions, then arbitration clauses would not be included in every. Damn. Contract.
I think this is the key point. If there's a power disparity (commonly, adhesion contracts), the favored party should not get to pick the arbiter.
Which is fine. Maybe something like this shouldn't exist until we have the technology to make it foolproof. At least to the extent where the expected lawsuit frequency is something Amazon is willing to take on.
I'm a litigator and I'd rather arbitrate small disputes. Litigation is absurdly expensive and slow.
I've had great experiences with AAA arbitrators. They were fair and reasonable. They kept costs down too.
My biggest complaint about arbitration is that its too much like court. I thought it could have been more streamlined.
I've even used it as a consumer. When Sprint kicked me off their service for using BitTorrent, threatening arbitrator got them to buy back my two month old phone.
Plaintiff's lawyers hate arbitration because they like dumb juries.
Even if socially not fair, they agreed to a contract that seemed like a very good deal at the time. That's because of the costs/risks they haven't foresee at the time.
I mean, Maybe I'm just an old man and you should get off my lawn but jesus, what could possibly go wrong here? You give it away willingly then expect there to be no abuse? Why would they give you the right to sue? You just gave them a key to your house and they assume you'll accept any licence because you're so desperate for the convenience that you won't say no anyway.
If they wanted to install an amazon locker on my front porch, that would solve the problem for everyone. But that's not a cool project to work on with computer vision so . . ..
If they just went, "We'll do our best, but if anything goes horribly wrong you're fucked, sign here," then whatever. I wouldn't sign up for it anyway, but at least they'd be honest.
But to say that they will "correct the problem" if anything goes wrong, but force you into binding arbitration, is just wrong.
Most companies will take as much as you give them. Seems like an easy win in this customer demographic
The only reason not to lie would be real negative consequences, and those don't happen so much in the fake news era.
I bet their designers thought this through and while I think your "cool computer vision project" argument still stands, I believe the real reason is that everyone who owns/rents living space actually has a front door with space for packets behind said door.
My point is that the way to fix the stated problem is with a lock box and for people who that doesn't work it's a cost of business (as it is now). But if you bring that number down to 2b instead of 7 with a one time cost of lockboxes, you've solved the stated problem.
What they have now is, I think, a choice some people might still make given the trade-off: is Amazon more likely to abuse the key you give them? or are your packages more likely to get stolen off the porch? I've lived in neighborhoods where that cost-benefit would make total sense.
an amazon locker on my front
porch, that would solve the
problem for everyone
You can't charge for the box upfront without killing customer acquisition - most companies give new customers a discount, not a charge - and if you give the box away, you're $50+ in the hole for a customer who may never shop with you again, and you've got to charge more to recoup the costs of the box.
At $50/box, I can outfit 20 million homes for 1 billion which is a 1x cost. If they are really loosing 7b on package theft every year, the one off loss of box cost should start offsetting that right away. A quick google shows that there are 90 million prime members in 2017, so they could do a box per prime member and pay it off in 9 mo. The second year they just save 7 billion. Am I missing something?
I doubt there's a scenario in which you can claim Amazon did anything criminal. But IANAL either.
Would they experience clogging, in the short term?
Would fees increase to help fund expansion (and deter suits until expansion can accommodate the increased number of filings)?
Courts don't cost that much in the grand scheme of things, so even if we had to expand them by a factor of 2 to handle all the arbitration cases, that would be entirely doable.
I would be interesting to know just how much volume arbitrators see, and how many of those might be expected to turn into court cases in the absence of binding arbitration clauses.
That is what it's main use used to be.
Sorry this may seem personal but my own experience is that any phrase ending with these words is usually a good indicator of cluelessness.
It often means: I don't understand the motivations and reasons of the parties involved, I disagree with free and voluntary contracts and my opinion should override the will of the signing parties.
Needless to say, there are many unintended consequences, a "talk and don't ask or listen" attitude and a naive egocentrism at play that is also often prevalent in politics.
There are lots of "free and voluntary" contracts that are illegal. You can't sign away your life or your freedom. You can't even sign a contract where you agree to work for $4/hour. In many jurisdictions you can't sign away your right to work for a competitor. You can't sign away your right to privacy or use of the legal eviction process in a rented apartment.
It's generally agreed upon that there are certain rights that are so important you can't sign them away. It seems to me that access to the courts should be one of them.
Binding arbitration and non-competes, are both disgusting anti-business, anti-American, anti-worker, anti-innovation, anti-rights that need to be killed.
These two horrible tactics have crept in since 2000 into nearly everything.
Signing away your right to compete and your right to use the legal system should both be illegal and have no place in America. How did we let this happen?
For non-competes, NDAs should suffice.
Arbitration should be a step towards legal rather than supplanting it. Many times arbitration is better for both parties in terms of cost/time but when it isn't people shouldn't be signing away the right into forced arbitration to go further.
I know one software developer personally who has been screwed over by a non-compete. I know others who simply ignore them, which is dangerous since different states have rules differently on their enforceability.
It's a far departure from other markets I've worked in. I've personally never even asked behaviour questions during an interview, and really I think you can get a good judge of behaviour just by watching the candidate answer technical questions.
I'm not sure if non-competes are the norm. I have a feeling they might be as they recently passed laws to ban them for low income earners. I've only had one job offer, and they refused to remove it. I have no problem signing NDAs, IP wavers, patent wavers, etc. But I refuse to sign anything that restricts my right to work after a company stops paying me. If it turns out all of them do the same thing, I might have to head back to the west coast.
I refused to sign it.
Of course, that's trading justice for money, which most people would agree is a terrible idea. Of course, that isn't reflected in the actual state of the law.
There are parts of forced consumer arbitraiton that companies do not like, but there's too much upsdie to precluding class actions. Things companies don't like include: the high up front cost and the lack of appeals.
There's nothing legally preventing arbitrators from being vehemently pro-consumer. The incentives prevent it but, legally, an arbitrator could award a crazy amount of money to a consumer on a tenuous basis and there's little that could be done. It's interesting that no such examples exist, however.
There are obvious incentives for the arbitrators to favour the people paying them - individuals are not going to be doing a lot of business with them, companies are.
He says exactly that in his comment. There is no law stopping them from doing it.
In my haste, I read that as "there is nothing stopping them from being pro-consumer, so there is no reason to assume that the judgements favour the businesses" for some reason.
One contract along those lines that I saw basically goes like this: each party picks its own arbitrator (presumably biased toward that party, whatever). Then those two arbitrators together select a third arbitrator, who will actually arbitrate the dispute.
Of course that's not what binding arbitration clauses look like, at all.
Are the arbiters really hired by the company?
As for the hiring part - the business pays most of the arbitration fees, but the consumer is on the hook for a nominal amount plus any attorney fees and potentially extra costs like expert testimony.
However, what Amazon does here is just wrong.
Arbitration is legal because of freedom of contract.
There is nothing "obviously terrible" about arbitration per se. When it is included in a freely negotiated contract between parties of equal bargaining power it is hard to find anything wrong with it.
The problem is when the parties do not have anywhere near equal bargaining power.
I'm talking about consumer arbitration, which is as you say, inherently unbalanced. Yes, I'm sure there are situations where it's a good tool and I'm not saying ban arbitration completely, but right now we can see the damage from it being misapplied.
That is, there is no benefit to agreeing to it at contract inception, if it were as stated: cheaper and impartial, i.e., a better court.
Indentured servitude is just contracting. Do you think it should be legal too?
My point is that because it is implied by freedom of contract, it is by default legal until we decide to make it illegal.
No, it's legal because of the Federal Arbitration Act passing in 1925. Prior to that, waiving of such rights "in advance by agreement" was explicitly disallowed, as SCOTUS determined in Insurance Company v. Morse (1874).
This is terrible because it leads to unjustly excessive punishment for smaller crimes if someone wants to exercise their right to trial, and people being told to just take the deal when innocent because a 1% chance of 10s of years of prison just isn't worth the risk when the alternative is you are out in months, for example.
It made me so furious because most people don't understand what they're giving up, and they won't understand until they get into an accident and learn they signed away their rights years ago. The way agents sell Limited Tort gives you a completely inaccurate impression of the potential consequences.
That sort of thing should absolutely be criminal.
So even if you're injured badly enough to need a year of physical therapy for full recovery, you would likely get no money for your pain and suffering under Limited Tort. Without Limited Tort you'd probably get anywhere from $30,000 - $100,000 for that amount of pain/suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.
You can look up info on "piercing the tort threshold" if you're curious about specific injuries that are severe enough.
Do you think quantifying pain and suffering has a positive value even if its very hard to come up with a meaningful way to define suffering in terms of dollars?
1. Yes. Suffering isn't necessarily limited to some brief interval of time. For example, disfiguring injuries can impose suffering (employment discrimination, loss of consortium, etc.) throughout a person's post-injury lifespan. Money can mitigate burdens imposed by such effects of injury.
2. I don't know. But I would estimate the conversion factor for third-degree burns over 40% of a kid's body as greater than that of a kid's having lost a hand. YMMV.
3. Yes, I do.
If you're injured to the point where it impacts your ability to work, or you need extra care from someone... of course it offsets it.
For a furniture purchase.
With all that complaining about signing away your right to sue and work, why do you think it's OK to sign away your right to speak? Serious question.
NDAs are also bs mostly but they cover company specific confidential information and possibly information on clients, contractors, employees etc. All of that is fair to not speak about as that is their property and what they are doing.
Non-competes want you to usually stop using your skills that you brought to the company, with other companies. It is really absurd when a company that wants a 6-month contract wants a non-compete for 2 years, laughable.
Not discussing confidential material shared with you on condition of your employer with an NDA is quite similar IMO to not sharing material information about a company's health days before their public earnings call. 1st amendment rights are not absolute. I'm not allowed to engage in libel, yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, etc. I think abiding by NDA's about internal, confidential information is analagous and helps promote real, fair competition.
Every time you say, "yell 'Fire!' in a crowded theater," a civil rights lawyer is forced to kick a puppy.
Imagine a physician signing a non-compete. What's he supposed to do then? Not practice medicine and go be a consultant or something?
My nephew was asked to sign a non-compete in a sandwich shoppe, to protects the trade secrets of making a ham sandwich!
This is not related to 1st amendment; this is no law being passed by congress or any government body. Nothing prevents a person from speaking after an NDA is signed - they won't get tossed in jail, because no law was broken. However, after doing so, they will be responsible for any civil penalties they agreed to when they signed the contract.
So if you sign something that severely penalizes going out on your own and competing against your employer, they're going to jump on that and treat it like a lifeline because it very much is exactly that.
Agreed. Here's how I look at it:
If a company really screws you over, you can sue. It's a lot of time and money, but it's worth it for a big problem. But what if the problem is small?
If I get screwed out of $5 by a dodgy company, I won't bother to sue. But if they've done the same to a lot of people, a class action lawsuit makes it worth some lawyer's time to go after them.
Arbitration clauses destroy that. Without class action, we need much more vigorous government intervention. Failing that, consumers lose the trust in the marketplace, harming commerce and making everybody poorer. And we'd likely see more proactive regulation as well, reducing innovation.
Don't sign the agreement if you don't like it.
For example, a contract in which I forfeit my right to life or ownership of my own body would be considered invalid.
The same should be true of a contract in which I forfeit my right to sue. Half the point of the courts is to serve as a final arbiter when a contract is insufficient.
I'm not sure I see the relation to powers of attorney. Are you saying that granting PoA to another person is similar to granting enforcement rights to an arbitrator?
If mandatory binding arbitration included as part of your standard interaction with businesses is a net negative for 99% of people and a positive for business owners and large stock holders there is no particular reason why the 99% can't vote not to allow the owners to do that.
I mean, even if you have the best of intentions, it's still nice to have all the cards stacked in your favor for your own protection.
Why do you want to interfere and limit my right to execute a contract?
However, there's a strong opinion (e.g. encoded in EU law) that the standard contract forms offered by companies to consumers are not really properly negotiated contracts (even if consumers willingly sign them) and thus in such contracts you're not allowed to enforce a certain set of terms that are considered abusive. One of such terms is a binding arbitration clause.
Your customer is free to negotiate and make a contract containing such clauses with you, and then it'd be valid, but if you simply get all your customers to sign on the dotted line under such a clause, it's understood that you don't really have obtained informed consent from any of them.
If Amazon were signing a contract with Google or Apple, I assume that they both would have relatively equal negotiating power and access to information. With you or I? I highly doubt I can afford it.
That's what California does with non-competes, it (figuratively) tells the company it is pretty cool that they have that contract and good luck.
Anyway, this feels more like an ad for amazon key than a real takedown. Oh wait... WaPo, Bezos... right.
It states that right near the beginning of the article.
I'm cynical in a different way, though. I see this article as the sort of turgid content that dominates tech media: Take some product or behavior that's new, act like it's scary and milk some content out of it. The title itself is simply ridiculous -- the regrets seem to be that the product is exactly what it is held as.
It isn't for me. For some people heavily invested in the Amazon ecosystem it might be a fine compromise.
Skilled technical people don't write for publications because the pay is terrible compared to even an entry level tech job. The best articles I see anymore are by guest writers who do work in industry but wanted to write an article for whatever reason.
Previously I had a few sites that I visited daily to read tech news. Media properties where writers tried to keep a constant supply of entertaining and illuminating articles that I give attention and focus to, even if superficially not interesting, because I have trust that it's worth my time.
Now I instead rely upon social news and even Facebook feeds to supply the more interesting articles, filtered and crowd "curated". In that gaudy world, you need to show your legs and hoot and holler to get attention. So we end up with this sort of media. We see the same thing with blogs where many of us abandoned subscriptions and readers and just assume that the good content will percolate into our view.
I don't think I'm alone in this behavior, and it has been negative to the whole.
>The bad news is Amazon missed four of my in-home deliveries and charged me (on top of a Prime membership) for gear that occasionally jammed and makes it awkward to share my own door with people, apps, services — and, of course, retailers — other than Amazon.
I didn't really read beyond that.
The regret was it was a pain in the ass, and cost a lot of money, and in the end didn't even work very well. It was a waste of time, and money, and effort, for no gain.
It's harder than a walled garden you control but very feasible.
Heck most software engineers could put together a smart lock and app to do this in a couple of months. Wouldn't be consumer ready by any means but this isn't some huge engineering challenge.
Figuring out how to market the product successfully is the harder part.
And exactly this is what limits it to "a large/powerful company".
I think tech companies would prefer to be seen as dystopian over idiotic. Negative tech stories that I've heard which have destroyed the companies -- juicero, for example, or google glass -- show their customers as idiots.
Amazon doesn't have employees delivering packages. They are all contractors, and often contractors hired by contractors. The concerning thing about this is that it literally means Amazon may have only learned the name of the person who is accessing your home 30 minutes before they are inside it.
It wouldn't surprise me if they do very little vetting, especially this time of year, and just suck up the cost of packages that contractors fail to deliver. Perhaps for large shipments they go after the contractor legally if they can find them but for smaller shipments they probably just blacklist the person and move on. Taking an extra ten days to get my order via replacement shipped by a reputable delivery service was mildly annoying but I certainly never would allow Amazon's random hodgepodge of contractors enter my home.
Incidentally, this is in the Pacific Northwest, not far from Amazon HQ. S
They may drive trucks with the Amazon logo; they may tell you they are delivering for Amazon; they may be driving around with an app made by Amazon that gives them step by step instructions of what to do. But they are not legally employed by Amazon. Not in the US or UK. I spent some time as a part of their software organization, and have been inside the delivery stations. As far as I know, there are no employees delivering packages.
You can speculate as to why Amazon would want things setup this way. I don't speak on the company's behalf.
As long as Amazon knows their name, has them tracked and my Key takes video, it seems like there's near zero risk of that person doing something illegal. It's just too easy for them to get caught.
And they hire independent delivery companies (who themselves can hire contractors to work for them) as well.
> As an independent contractor, you are responsible for your own expenses.
> Delivery providers are local companies that Amazon uses to deliver packages from a central location to our customer's door.
Are you 100% sure about this or is it a guess? There’s no evidence I’m aware of that goes against Amazons statement.
> Drivers are independent contractors with a delivery provider.
> The programme is open to single driver owner-operators as well as larger companies.
I've certainly had deliveries come in unmarked white vans without the driver displaying any sort of company affiliation.
Are you sure about that because all deliveries I have had are clearly not from any of the regular companies you mention?
Amazon wants to own grocery delivery (put your milk in your fridge), they want to own dog walking, they want to own plumbing and other house services.
The article's correct that this is the first step in a larger plan, and I think at least fairly well thought out for that.
That's a problem the country doesn't have.
If you watch some old movies, you can see very lax airport security.
How times change. How did we end up trust each other so little ? What happened ? Is it really inevitable ?
I don't think all change is progress. For example, some ancient Greek cities like Athens were more progressive on gay rights and sexuality.
One time I was at a coffee shop in a mall and there was a table next to me of ~8 people having a business meeting with laptops. Lunch time came, so they left all their stuff - laptops and all - and went for lunch. After an hour they came back and continued.
Petty crimes like this aren’t a thing in this country. If caught, a foreigner is just going to get jail time (which is most likely better than US county jail) and deportation.
"Under Emirati law, multiple crimes carry the death penalty, and the sole method of execution is firing squad. Current law theoretically allows the death penalty for treason, espionage, murder, successfully inciting the suicide of a person "afflicted with total lack of free will or reason", arson resulting in death, acts of indecent assault resulting in death, importing nuclear substances/wastes in the environment of the State, adultery, apostasy, blasphemy, perjury causing wrongful execution, rape, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, sodomy, homosexuality, drug trafficking and joining the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, although death sentences are frequently commuted to life sentences. Overseas nationals and UAE nationals have both been executed for crimes."
But I believe in giving credit where it's due. If petty crime is very rare in UAE, it's food for thought. World is not black and white and it's perfectly possible the world of Islam does some things better. It's worth a closer look. I believe in an eclectic approach where you take the best parts of things.
Oh boy would Amazon Key be laughingstock in such a country.
As recently as three years ago I lived somewhere where the dry cleaner could go into your house and hang your dry cleaning on a doorknob and take your outgoing bag of laundry/dry cleaning. And if you live in an apartment/condo building of a certain level, very often the concierge will deliver packages and groceries into your home.
Most pet-sitters have this access, too.
Wait, was this a translation error? Did you mean "neighbor?" Or is there some "neighborhood representative" in every neighborhood in Germany?
So then not just have a box where you can throw parcels in? If you have the second door locked then none of the amazon services envisioned apply.
2027: "We want to own all the water companies so we can plumb Amazon-Basics-knockoff Soylent to your faucets."
I don't even really see limiting horizontal integration as unethical/anti-business at all, if implemented well. Sure Bob Shareholder won't be able to directly invest the $X in profit from his Amazon/Google stock back into the company, but that profit would instead be given as dividends that he could then invest in companies that would be doing what Amazon/Google wanted to do anyway.
But then again, that includes a bunch of overseas revenue, so that's not exactly apples-to-apples. And it's actually comforting to see that Walmart is 4x the size of Amazon, because I don't think they have the same scope of ambition or cultural / technological relevance today. I certainly don't think that the Walmart of 2030 will be controlling all aspects of our daily life, though people may have worried about that 20 years ago. But companies ebb and flow and I suspect that Amazon will reach its own "dominance high point" in the next decade or two and then retreat in terms of ambition and relevance. New swaths of the economy will open up that Amazon is ill-equiped to dominate, just like has happened to corporations for the last century before them.
Why else would this do this?
Oh, wait they are bleeding money.
>The amount of money that Amazon lost on shipping — a.k.a. the net cost of landing all those brown boxes on your doorstep in record time — reached an all-time high of nearly $7.2 billion in 2016, according to GeekWire’s analysis of the e-commerce giant’s financial results.
I would be curious to see another person's take on how much Amazon loses on people stealing packages per year.
Considering the USPS won't service individual house mailboxes in some parts of the country anymore (only communal mailbox clusters up to a mile away), what's the difference between getting a package from the USPS lockbox, or the Amazon lockbox which is located at a place I was going anyway?
I'd seriously consider this product.
This makes sense - nearly everyone's phone can send an SMS. Having to install an app just to unlock a door is an unnecessary barrier.
Yes, but the door is a necessary barrier, so I don't really care.
There is a potential issue if you're talking about sending someone a code (or multiple codes) several days in advance, but I don't think the systems are set up to do that currently.
Plus you get an alert and a picture/video whenever one of the codes is used so it's fairly high risk for a burglar. You get an entry alert and it's some dude in a mask you call the cops. I tend to think that they'll stick to the old fashioned way of just breaking a window instead.
Breaking into houses doesn't require Oceans 11 technology.
Amazon Key: unlocks your door with a app.
I had heard this was true, but now I have seen that there really are people who can't use a screwdriver.
>which was Amazon’s recommendation.
Customer support and warranty become a massive pain in the ass if you're not a professional. Amazon will fight tooth and nail not to work with a DIYer because when their lock doesn't latch and someone gets killed in a burglary they don't want to be the only first party with money when the lawyers start going up the links in the chain. Obviously the risk is tiny but with a professional installation they can point fingers at the locksmith and hope the lawyers settle for whatever the locksmith's insurance can provide.
Being a DIYer in this day and age is a massive PITA "because liability"
Everything I ever want to fix, an enterprising handyman has already made a monetized YouTube video on. All the repairs I’ve done in the last 4 years have been faster than waiting for a repairman. I use an expert’s video and parts I’ve bought at a nearby hardware or auto parts store.
In the the past I slogged through radiator replacements by looking at a Chilton manual. Now, an expert mechanic has created a step-by-step video with all the gotchas that wouldn’t fit in a repai manual. This is the golden age of DIY.
You know they have classes at Home Depot and Lowe’s for home repair, right?
If you hire a locksmith, then you have reason to believe that someone was professionally trained to fix the issue at hand. They may not do it any better nor faster, but their job title implies that they know what they are doing by the book.
A DIYer doesn't have that same set of credentials. You could be better than any locksmith in your town, but you're still considered a hobbyist
I wouldn't trust these people to hold a screwdriver much less try to use it - they'd end up in the emergency room.
Most folks have the screwdriver but not the other two...
And it’s cheaper to buy the drill and the bits than to have a locksmith at your house for 20 minutes.
"The work order does not include this, so we can't finish. If we leave now, you'll have to get it done on your own, then reschedule, which means you have to wait at least a few more weeks. However, if you slip me $50, I can take care of it right now, and then I'll be out of your hair forever."
And I know Snap has been trying to do Snap2Store. Their head hardware guy made the Ring doorbell hardware. He also made some thermal imaging system. I'd probably give Snap a key to my house with Snapdrones surveilling. (Automonous social ephemerality to highlight my life?)
Why engineer a delivery solution when you can convince some people to give up even more control and access?
And they apparently are considering some kind of marketplace for in-home services where Amazon takes a cut of the price and they grant your dogwalker, house cleaner, grocery deliveryperson or personal chef access through the same system.
Permanently installing boxes might also violate leases/condo/HOA rules.
If the future is Amazon staple deliveries and Uber drivers coming by with my groceries, this might be a reasonable solution.
You can even get a version that works with multiple delivery services, including DPD, UPS, and Hermes.
Buuuut Amazon doesn’t care about that, they just want to gain more control.
Is there a delivery person for Amazon who can comment on this?
Do you not have a housekeeper, or a landscaper, or dog walker, or anyone else who goes into your house when you're not there? It's pretty common for service personnel to be in a house doing stuff.
[I'm unsure why a landscaper would need to enter your home or apartment or whatever.]
I grew up about an hour from the nearest UPS facility. A closer one still doesn't exist to this day. I didn't have to worry about people stealing a package from my house, but if you go five minutes into town, you get to neighborhoods that are much more dense. If you wanted UPS to hold your package, you had a 2 hour round trip to get something you paid to have delivered to your house.
I'm not a strict advocate for Amazon Key, but I can definitely see the use case for it.
You'd think you could just fill in a textbox with a description of where the lockbox is when you make your order, and Amazon could forward that information to the delivery company.
My case is atypical though because I installed it on an outer gate, meaning delivery people are not actually entering my home.
And that the feature also lets those that want to just to give access to their whole house seem a useful way to grow the adoption (since my guess is many more people will take this more convenient, though less secure option).
That's not necessarily as easy as you seem to be making out, a lot of people don't have cars which rules out large or heavy packages and some delivery offices have inconvenient opening times (often business hours + Saturday but if you already have recurring commitments on Saturdays you might have to go through a lot of effort to make the time during the week).
Now they can be in your neighborhood, using a list of popped accounts to unlock a batch of houses. They can look at your Amazon connected camera to know when you have left your home or children unattended. Amazon accounts get popped all the time.
Amazon is also a great place to get GB/TB of customer data from public S3 buckets.
Some custom built homes intentionally have multiple windows that are too slim for a human to fit through for this reason.
[ Special Note: ] If you decide to do this, ensure you build other methods of escape for fire hazards.
There is a public perception of these super-smart techno hackers that crack all of these damn gizmos and rob you blind, but the reality is that most all B&E is done by dumbass drug addicts who barely make anything on a haul and get caught quickly. Even the more sophisticated ones use basically the same tactics but also make sure to move to a different county every couple of houses to avoid sitting in a jurisdiction for too long.
It's a high risk low reward game. Only the most desperate play it. Someone smart enough to hack the system is smart enough to have many better ways of making money. Even if someone sells a kit for dummies to do this it's still more work than picking up a rock.
Or put a quick kick to the door. The idea that a hollow door with a inch of metal hanging onto the frame is going to stop someone is laughable. Most homes aren't secure.
And while we're at it, the package being left on your porch is not inherent to packages getting stolen or not containing what they should. Heck, ordering stuff isn't even the only way to buy things. So why prevent against it by giving Amazon access to your house, of all things out of all the possibilities there are? The decision to be made isn't between having windows or an Amazon lock, those things are orthogonal. You're adding a shitty additional link to an already weak chain.
Now any random person can break your window with you knowing, any random person can kick the door in with you knowing, and -- I'll pretend to not see the moved goalposts because as I said, no counter-argument is required to a non-argument anyway -- a skilled lockpicker can let themselves in without you knowing. Now, thanks to this amazing technology and given enough time, a script kiddie, not to mention hardened cyberwebs criminals, might be able let anyone in without you knowing or without even knowing the completely unskilled person they let in. That is to say, now even people who wouldn't be able to kick in a door, break a window, or pick a lock can potentially get into your house. And for what? So you can order at Amazon. It's not even a standard to be used for any delivery you want to use it for, just Amazon. This doesn't need an counter-argument. If you want to buy this, you have my blessing.
It seems like there’s nothin people won’t give up for Amazon. We’ll have the Amazon “Cold and Flu Check” next where you have to photograph yourself naked and upload the images to S3.
Some of the better houses in the north have a mudroom between the outer door and the inner door. Helps a whole lot in winter and during the rainy muddy times.
Agree it would probably work well with this type of thing for deliveries.
Skilled thieves can get into the vast majority of homes. Deadbolts just stop opportunists looking for an easy quick grab.
The only downside is that large packages or items from 3rd party sellers can't be shipped to a locker.
Two beagles means this is a non-starter for my household, as they immediately will bark if a stranger approaches the driveway.
That's a huge chunk of customers they're missing out on.
Think of Amazon Key as your average tech startup that has Amazon branding.
For those with pets, get your own Amazon Locker installed on your porch...
They’re doing extremely well at it so far, but it’s kind of terrifying that such a capitalism singularity is plausible.
An HN commenter a while back made the parallel between Amazon and Weyland-Yutani from Alien, which is quite apt.
I've asked a few friends who have an alarm system and they said they would not give out the code if it's going to be passed along to delivery people (who could break into the house later and then disable the alarm).
But I guess not enough people have alarms for Amazon to be worried about this? Or perhaps this is aimed more at urban apartment-dwellers, who are less likely to have security systems?
I don't understand this. Are there any APIs for Amazon key which will allow other people/apps to use the key? If yes, how do the damages work?
Are they absolutely crazy? The camera obviously needs to be operated independently from Amazon, being able to be remotely switched on or off by the very people it's supposed to watch completely defeats its purpose.
HAL's decision was a conscious one, but I find it rather interesting a 1960s-Kubrick (& Arthur C. Clarke) could predict the casual use of multiple currently-cutting-edge devices, and incorporate them into the story:
- One being HAL's resemblance to a new amazon smart-home, at least in general purpose functionally, plus the vibe of sentience and omnipresence
- Another prediction being realtime face-to-face chat as shown in one scene, which would
Naturally this makes me wonder if artificial consciousness is possible or not (be it X years/decades/centuries into the future), what fundamental questions it may answer, and what consequences it may have. I am not necessarily referring to the consequences of recursively self-improving super-intelligence, but not excluding it either I suppose. I am referring to true consciousness, with human-level feelings and emotions, where the personality may have an effect on what it does rather than simply and emotionlessly taking the logical (or programmed) route every time.
Creation of artificial consciousness may be many steps away from trying to undertake; however, given the ever-accelerating rate of both digital-tech and neuroscience, if true consciousness is at all possible to program, it will likely come far sooner than expected. It's bound to also answer a lot of questions about our ontological understanding of our own perception in/of realities.
In any case, by the grace of God and Elon Musk, let's hope we can avoid a Hollywood catastrophe in the upcoming rise of AI in general through the end of time as far as collective consciousness is concerned.
The cash on delivery and flexibility of couriers is one of the few services that work quite well here, compared to some more developed countries.
Either I need to be home to get a delivery or I have to rely on them giving my parcel to the concierge. Which is often more of a hassle as he finishes at 5 and I'm often not home in time to get my parcel from him.
For example, a service I like is Inpost. They have a few dozen of huge post boxes in each bigger city. About 20 compartments in each. The package is not delivered to your house, but instead you have 3 days to retrieve it from one of those huge yellow boxes. It's a little walk, but you can do it in the middle of the night (they text you with opening code). You don't even have to know the recipient's delivery address, just the phone number and e-mail, and the yellow box closest to them. So in a way it protects privacy.
I'd pay extra for that (for some important or expensive purchases).
Delivery has turned into minimizing every excess second. I wager within a few months most of these amazon keys will be ignored as they leave packages on the driveway. I wouldn't buy this unless it comes with a guarantee it will be used.
> The Key-compatible locks are made by Yale and Kwikset, yet don’t work with those brands’ own apps. They also can't connect with a home-security system or smart-home gadgets that work with Apple and Google software.
> And, of course, the lock can’t be accessed by businesses other than Amazon. No Walmart, no UPS, no local dog-walking company.
They absolutely refused to refund me for a purchase I never authorized! How corrupted is that?
Probably lots of people didn't about Amazon Key. Read the scary headline expecting burglary or orgy in the bedroom only to learn nothing all that terrible happened. A few delivery windows got missed. A lock didn't work at some point. With numerous positive things sprinkled in, and things that are coming. Oh but the author doesn't like that. "Who cares?" you are supposed to say. "Packages get delayed all the time! Sign me up".
I do find myself branching out to other e-commerce sites just as matter of portfolio diversification. Which is why I'll never do anything as exclusive as Amazon Key.
I want a world where Amazon has to buy a Kthejoker Key.
I must not be seeing it all.
You get an indoor security camera, and a smart deadbolt for $250, right?
I paid a locksmith $100 for a new strike plate, which was Amazon’s recommendation.
Please, people don't mess your home security !!
Actually I think this is not as bad as Facebook, because it's much less abstract and average Joes can wrap their head around it, and I think benefits are not as seductive as in FB's case. So I expect Amazon Key to fail.
Looks like a Schlage Touch might be the best option out there. Numeric keypad, no key hole, and has no radio connectivity of any kind to be tampered with.
I just learned about amazon key from this article...
Weird that your comment is literally right at the bottom.
Also, in general, in tort-happy America, delivery people and other field workers should always wear bodycams to prove they were in the right because random people can and do make up convincing stories to file lawsuit$.