Amazon building

Amazon Patent Shows Potential for Drones To Be Next Frontier in Home Security

The tech behemoth already plans to roll out delivery drones. It’s now considering offering a home surveillance service to customers.

Amazon has already earned a slew of media attention for its plans to deploy a fleet of delivery drones in the near future. Now, the company has scored its first win in exploring the potential for those drones to also serve as a home surveillance tool for customers.

2015 patent for surveillance drones filed by the company earned approval from federal officials last month, according to National Public Radio. While plans for this service are still in the early stages, the patent envisions a day in which customers can request that a drone perform a “surveillance action” of their home on an hourly, daily or weekly basis.

The drone would film a specific home and determine the probability of a “surveillance event,” or disturbance, at the home. Some examples offered by the company include a property breach, an open garage door, a fire or a broken window.

If the drone determines that there is a high probability of a security issue, it could send an alert to local fire and police authorities or the user themselves, depending on the severity of the event.

There are some privacy concerns associated with the patent, including the possibility that neighbors’ homes and other property could be filmed without the permission or knowledge of the property owners. The drones also have the potential to identify people with permission to be on the property as “intruders” and incorrectly alert authorities.

“We don’t yet have a sense of the violation we might feel on account of the widespread use of drones,” Jeff Ward, the director of Duke University’s Center on Law and Technology, told NPR.

Amazon officials said they would use geofencing technology to draw a specific perimeter of surveillance and blur out any data that is outside of the selected area, NPR reported.

"Some reports have suggested that this technology would spy or gather data on homes without authorization," Amazon spokesperson John Tagle said in a statement. "To be clear, that's not what the patent says. The patent clearly states that it would be an opt-in service available to customers who authorize monitoring of their home."

As The Verge points out, there is also a significant chance that Amazon will never offer the drone service, just as the company has dropped previous ideas after patenting them. But with the tech behemoth planning to launch drone delivery in a “matter of months,” customers should not be surprised when Amazon comes forward with the power to look after their home while they’re on vacation.

  • Ahead of Current Events Ahead of Current Events

    In this episode, Ralph C. Jensen chats with Dana Barnes, president of global government at Dataminr. We talk about the evolution of Dataminr and how data software benefits business and personnel alike. Dataminr delivers the earliest warnings on high impact events and critical information far in advance of other sources, enabling faster response, more effective risk mitigation for both public and private sector organizations. Barnes recites Dataminr history and how their platform works. With so much emphasis on cybersecurity, Barnes goes into detail about his cybersecurity background and the measures Dataminr takes to ensure safe and secure implementation.

Digital Edition

  • Security Today Magazine - November December 2022

    November / December 2022

    Featuring:

    • Key Tech Trend
    • Is Your Access Control System Cyber Secure?
    • Constantly Evolving
    • The Talent Shortage
    • Looking Forward to 2023

    View This Issue

  • Environmental Protection
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Spaces4Learning
  • Campus Security & Life Safety