Amazon’s Scanning Technology for Package Delivery

Robinson+Cole Data Privacy + Security Insider

If you haven’t yet heard about it, Amazon is on the forefront of package delivery. And if you think that is old news (which it is!), have you heard about Amazon’s scanning technology capable of scanning the homes down below its delivery drone so that it can properly deliver that awesome new gadget you just purchased on Amazon? Well, what Amazon’s patient application stated was that this scanning technology would not only scan the properties below in order to detect the correct geographical drop location for the package, but that the technology would also be collected data. What kind of data? Amazon’s patent application stated, “Captured data may be received by a computer system and properties about a destination for the delivery may be identified by analyzing the data. A recommendation may be generated based at least in part on the identified properties.” The patient application further says, “For example, the one or more service provider computers may analyze the data and identify that the roof of the location is in disrepair and in need of service.” While it certainly makes sense that Amazon will need technology to accurately identify your property in order to deliver your package, the capture of data for other uses such as selling other products to consumers and recommending services, is certainly beyond package delivery. In particular, the patent application also mentions surveilling your backyard and looking at the state of, for example, your trees. Of course, the patent also suggests this ‘service’ would be opt-in, and only capture and analyze this data with the consent of the customer. What we do know for sure is that very soon, drones will be flying through the air with Amazon packages (and packages from other large retailers as well), and they may be collecting more data then we even realize. This is not just a drone concern—we see this in retail across the board from the sale of our social media ‘likes’ to our credit card buying habits, this drone package delivery may be another way to analyze consumer habits (and our alleged ‘needs’) without us even realizing it.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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