Your landlord might have given Amazon access to your apartment building’s lobby in exchange for a $100 gift card, according to a new report courtesy of the Associated Press. It’s all part of a program called Key for Business, which Jeff Bezos and his cronies launched to little fanfare back in 2018. Billed as “a better, smarter way for multi-unit buildings and gated communities to receive Amazon deliveries” on the official webpage, Key for Business is sold as a solution to reduce the number of stolen packages, speed up delivery drivers’ routes, and (most importantly) save the company money.
Key for Business is now estimated to be installed in 1,000s of apartment complexes around the nation, although the AP was unable to get Amazon to confirm a more specific number. If that wasn’t unsettling enough, it’s technically totally up to a landlord or leasing company’s discretion whether or not to inform its tenants if they have entered into a deal with the delivery service. Amazon is also apparently doing some seriously aggressive marketing pushes for this initiative, including the aforementioned Amazon gift cards, as well as even partnering with local locksmiths to act as liaisons “to push it on building managers while they fix locks.”
Yet another Prime privacy nightmare — It probably goes without saying that the conceit behind Key for Business is setting a lot of alarm bells ringing with security experts. “You’re essentially introducing a foreign internet-connected device into an otherwise internal network,” Ashkan Soltani, a privacy researcher and President Obama’s senior tech advisor, told the AP.
Amazon is no stranger to unnecessarily invasive technology marketed as “convenient” and “simplifying” one’s life. Is it really any surprise that the company hawking surveillance trackers for children and “fashionable” home listening devices also hopes to be literally and figuratively handed the keys to the front doors of its customers?
Despite its relative obscurity, Key for Business offers one of Amazon’s most intrusive, profit-based decisions so far. And by now, that’s saying quite a lot given its history. At least you’ll soon be able to tip that Prime Delivery person who scares the shit out of you in your apartment lobby with some valuable PrimeCoin, assuming they even want them. Most people we’ve encountered who work at Amazon want as little to do with it outside of office hours as possible.