If you needed a reason to not let Amazon turn your home into a smart home, here’s a new one: a man claims he was locked out of his Amazon smart home devices over a baseless accusation of “racism” from a delivery driver…when he wasn’t at home.
Posting the story on Medium, the man behind the story, Brandon Jackson, said that he got home from work one day and found that he had been locked out of all his Amazon smart home devices. He thought it might be a password problem and tried to check, but couldn’t find what had gone wrong.
He then eventually contacted an Amazon service representative, who told him the lock out was intentional and had occurred because a delivery driver reported hearing him say a racist remark through his smart doorbell.
He was shocked, as the incident occurred when no one was at home, a fact he had video evidence from his security devices to back up. He assumes that the delivery driver, who was wearing headphones, misheard the doorbell, which automatically said: “Excuse me, can I help you?”
Despite his provision of the evidence that neither he nor anyone else was at home to have made such a remark to Amazon’s customer support, it took nearly a week for them to unlock his account and devices, doing so without comment or explanation. Shockingly, it appears that Amazon locked him out of his smart home devices without even conducting an investigation into the matter to determine if the driver was telling the truth, which is even more shocking than the company locking customers out of devices for potentially non-PC remark.
One account on Twitter noted that the situation was very dystopian and shows the immense amount of power unelected companies have over the lives of people who buy their products but don’t expect to have the companies then try to control their thoughts and actions by limiting access to that product.
That account, Grummz, said, “A delivery driver for Amazon misheard a automated doorbell for “racism” and reported it. Nobody was home. Amazon turned off all the lights, shut the entire smart home down before it even started it’s investigation. Law enforcement via corporation with no due process.” (Note: Jackson noted in an edit to the Medium article that he was able to turn on the lights and was not actually in the dark)
Continuing, Grummz added that freedom is being traded, via opaque and arbitrary “terms of service” rules, for shiny gadgets, saying, “We didn’t elect these companies, nor do we have a say in the “laws” they arbitrarily pen. But we handed them control over our lives. We are trading freedom for shiny beads and trinkets.”
We didn’t elect these companies, nor do we have a say in the “laws” they arbitrarily pen.
But we handed them control over our lives.
We are trading freedom for shiny beads and trinkets.
— Grummz (@Grummz) June 12, 2023
A commenter on the post noted the absurdity of the situation, saying, “Imagine your toaster mishearing a word from a show and locking you out. That’s the absurd future some people are gleefully heading into.”
For now, the solution is just to avoid buying smart home devices. But what happens when the government, in the name of “anti-racism,” lets utilities lock people out for “racism?” What happens when those with dissident perspectives, particularly on sensitive issues like gender or race, are locked out of public utilities by companies in the name of woke virtue? Sadly, that appears to be a world we’re headed toward.
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