I chuckle like an idiot whenever I hear some newscaster use the term “porch pirates.” It always makes me picture Jack Sparrow swinging onto someone’s front stoop to snag a box of freshly delivered goodies. In reality, it’s always just some disappointment in a cheap hoodie. That makes me sad.
Such a news report, spiced up with footage of a package pilferer captured in the act through the camera of an Amazon Ring doorbell, recently set my paranoia a-theorizing. Amazon has an obvious interest in selling more products, including the aforementioned Orwellian horrors. Sales of said devices also reduce customer service costs by providing an additional layer of protection to the company’s deliveries.
Amazon knows who’s purchased what, where those purchases are going, and when they’re likely to arrive. No one on the planet is in a better position to gank your packages than Amazon themselves–and nothing makes you think “I should put a camera on my door” quite like a good ganking.
Could the nefarious porch pirates be sailing under letters of marque signed by Jeff Bezos himself?
Do we need to consider Amazon’s willingness to share Ring information to law enforcement, and examine the possibility that a shadowy government cabal is assisting as a means of driving us toward an inescapable surveillance state?
Is a metallic mind control slug going to wriggle out of my Kindle and worm its way into my ear canal after the company discovers this post?
Ancient astronaut theorists say: yes.
Jokes aside, this is highly unlikely (or is it?) and I am definitely not accusing anyone of impropriety. Unfortunately, these are the things we need to think about going into 2020. Big companies are clinging to their positions more tightly than ever. Although an organization the size of Amazon likely wouldn’t try to pull something like this, remember that such places are staffed with human beings who are being incentivized to sell as much as possible as quickly as possible. Perhaps a desperate middle manager in Nowhere, Iowa falls behind on his bills or is saving up for a new waifu pillow and turns to shenanigans using the ubiquitous technologies consumers buy so they can feel more secure.
That’s really what we need to think about when evaluating new technology that phones home to a central location: not the potential of a global conspiracy, but the damage that could be caused by a lone dumbass.
Plus it’s just fun to ramble about.