Amazon Shuts Down Customer’s Smart Home Devices After Driver Claims Racism

Amazon shut off a man’s smart home devices for a week after a delivery driver falsely accused the customer of hurling a racial slur via a doorbell intercom.

Here’s What Happened

On June 4, blogger Brandon Jackson wrote that on May 25, he found he had been locked out of his Echo Show account, and was unable to interact with the devices connected to it, after a parcel had been delivered the day before.

“This wasn’t just a simple inconvenience, though,” he said. “I have a smart home, and my primary means of interfacing with all the devices and automation is through Amazon Echo devices via Alexa.”

When his devices stopped responding, he initially thought someone tried to access his accounts, however, when he contacted customer service, he was told in an accusatory tone the delivery driver heard racist remarks from his Ring doorbell and thus his Amazon Echo has been shut down.

“Most delivery drivers in my area share the same race as me and my family,” he said. “It seemed highly unlikely that we would make such remarks.”

Brandon said he also checked the video surveillance cameras at his home and found no such comments were made through the device, and said it was likely the delivery driver misheard since he was wearing headphones.

While Jackson commented that he supports Amazon taking steps to protect its delivery drivers, rightly he questioned “why my entire smart home system had to be rendered unusable during their internal investigation” and was “seriously considering” switching to another company’s products.

“In this case, we learned through our investigation that the customer did not act inappropriately, and we’re working directly with the customer to resolve their concerns while also looking at ways to prevent a similar situation from happening again.”

What happened to Jackson really highlights the growing number of household features and appliances becoming increasingly technologically advanced and the potential pitfalls of an interconnected home.

Further Reading:

Amazon Sued Over Massive Privacy Violations

Monthly Subscription Services Can Really Add Up!

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