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Definition

Amazon Key

Amazon Key is an in-home and in-car delivery service that allows authorized shippers to gain access to an Amazon Prime customer's home, post office box or car trunk during specified times. The purpose of Amazon Key is to prevent packages from being stolen.

To implement Key in-home delivery, Amazon Prime customers must buy a kit, which Amazon will install for free. The kit includes a smart door lock made by Yale or Kwikset and an Amazon cloud-enabled camera with 1080 pixel Full High Definition night vision. As of this writing, the basic Key package costs Amazon Prime customers an additional $7 per month or $69 a year.

How a delivery driver uses Amazon Key

On the morning a package is due for arrival, the customer will receive a notification through the Amazon Key app and provide the customer with a four-hour delivery window. Amazon will send another notification just before the driver arrives at the customer’s home.

Before unlocking the front door, the driver will knock. The camera is activated through motion sensing and records the entire visit. Customers can watch the delivery live or view a recorded video clip of it afterward. Amazon recommends that customers disable security systems for in-home deliveries and make sure that any pets are kept away from the front entrance. Amazon will notify the customer after the delivery has been completed and the door has been re-locked.

Amazon Key security issues

Some researchers have reported a potential security flaw with Key because an intruder could potentially disable the Amazon Cloud Cam and hack the smart lock to gain entry. To address this concern, Amazon Key uses multifactor authentication (MFA) with one-time passwords, and the service will not open the door if the camera is offline.

Amazon in-car delivery does not require the use of a camera or special key to

provide

security. Instead, it relies on a connected car service such as GM's OnStar or Volvo On Call. As long as the customer parks their car within a two-block radius of their regular delivery address, the delivery driver will be able to find it and ask the service to unlock the vehicle for package delivery. The service will also relock the vehicle when the delivery is complete.

In the future, Amazon is expected to expand its service to allow other designated service providers, such as dog walkers or cleaners, to access a residence or business through Key. Amazon launched Key on Nov. 8, 2017, in 37 U.S. cities.

This was last updated in April 2018

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