This story sounds like it comes straight from a dystopian sci-fi novel.
A man found himself locked out of his smart house powered by Amazon because, while he wasn’t home, an Amazon delivery driver mistakenly thought he heard a racist remark come from the man’s doorbell, reported it to Amazon, and Amazon immediately locked down the account, locking the man out of his home.
Here’s what the man accused of racism wrote on Medium:
When I connected with the executive, they asked if I knew why my account had been locked. When I answered I was unsure, their tone turned somewhat accusatory. I was told that the driver who had delivered my package reported receiving racist remarks from my “Ring doorbell.”
It turns out that a delivery driver with headphones on imagined he heard something racist from the doorbell, but the owner of the house wasn’t even home when the event happened.
He also had cameras all over the property that showed that he was totally innocent.
I reviewed the footage and confirmed that no such comments had been made. Instead, the Eufy doorbell had issued an automated response: “Excuse me, can I help you?” The driver, who was walking away and wearing headphones, must have misinterpreted the message. Nevertheless, by the following day, my Amazon account was locked, and all my Echo devices were logged out.
How insane is this? They locked the man out of his own home from Thursday, May 25, to Wednesday, May 31, 2023.
In the end, my account was unlocked on Wednesday, with no follow-up email to inform me of the resolution.
It’s 2023 y’all. Corporations can now lock you out of your home and completely shut down your life if they think you’re racist.
Consider this a cautionary tale.