July 23, 2021

Amazon now has ‘keys’ to thousands of apartment buildings in the U.S.

[FOX Business]

Amazon is asking landlords around the country to let them install a device to get into lobbies

Constellation Research founder Ray Wang on Amazon’s ‘growth spree’ and future winners in Big Tech. Inc. is on a mission to gain access to the front lobbies of apartment buildings across the U.S., and is trying to sell landlords on the idea of allowing the installation of a digital “key” allowing their package delivery drivers a way to enter.

The online retail and tech giant’s aim is to provide secure and convenient building access for Amazon delivery drivers at apartment buildings and streamline the delivery process for building owners and managers, so their staff or residents don’t need to manually give access each time deliveries are made, a spokesperson told FOX Business.

The initiative, called Key for Business, entails Amazon delivery drivers requesting access to a participating building via an app, and the apartment building door or gate to a community is unlocked only after Amazon confirms the driver’s ID, route, GPS location and time of request.

Some landlords who have the key system installed told the Associated Press that the system has reduced the constant buzzing from delivery folks and provides a more secure option than disclosing the building entry code to scores of delivery people. One even said he is so happy with the system he would have paid for Amazon to install it. Amazon would not give the exact number of buildings it has access to, but disclosed that the number is in the thousands.

An Amazon package sits by the mailbox in a Chicago apartment building.  (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar / AP Newsroom)

The Key for Business program is a similar concept to Amazon’s Key by Amazon In-Garage Delivery, an option it launched four years ago that is now available in 4,000 cities and allows Amazon drivers one-time access to people’s garages in order to leave packages inside to keep them from getting snatched or damaged.

Both systems require multiple forms of authentication from delivery workers, and all the company’s drivers undergo background checks, Amazon said. Still, skeptics are concerned about security risks from the systems.

An Amazon device that gives delivery personnel access to a building’s front doors to deliver packages is shown in a Chicago apartment building. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar / AP Newsroom)

Ashkan Soltani, a privacy researcher who was a senior tech advisor to former President Barack Obama, told the AP that any device connected to the internet could be hacked – including the Amazon one – and bad actors could try to unlock the doors.

“You’re essentially introducing a foreign internet-connected device into an otherwise internal network,” he said.

By Breck Dumas

Leave a Reply