Amazon shuts down smart home devices of a customer after a delivery man claimed that he heard a racist slur through a doorbell intercom. Here is the full story.

Amazon Shuts Down Smart Home

Brandon Jackson was the proud owner of a smart home. But on the 25th of May, he found his smart devices digitally blocked. His Amazon account was locked, and all his Echo devices were logged out. This happened less than 24 hours after a delivery driver dropped off a parcel at his home and reported to the company that he heard a racist slur being hurled at him through the video doorbell.

Jackson then contacted Amazon and asked why he couldn’t interact with his smart devices. He was told that the delivery driver had heard him be racist through the Ring doorbell.
Brandon Jackson is an engineer working at Microsoft. He made it clear that the allegations were false since none of the family members were at home when the parcel was delivered. He was able to confirm that no racist words were uttered by reviewing surveillance cameras set up outside his home.

The driver might have misinterpreted or misheard the welcome message of the video doorbell that said, “Excuse me, Can I help you?”

Nevertheless, his account and smart devices remained locked for a week after the allegation until an internal probe was carried out to confirm the matter. The Amazon account of Jackson was reinstated only a week after the event in spite of numerous calls and emails. The smart devices locked included his lighting, doorbell and many other devices.

Jackson questioned his relationship with Amazon and the treatment he received after almost a decade of loyalty. He condemned the unfair shutdown of all devices instead of a reasonable confrontation of the situation.

While it is important to make Amazon delivery drivers feel safe, it is equally important to investigate a claim before taking action to shut down devices and cause discomfort to customers.

This brings us to the potential disadvantages of owning a smart home. As Jackson described, being locked out of an Amazon Echo account or any other account for that matter, can be a huge inconvenience. A smart home is operated in every way by the automation device.

Jackson had all his smart devices integrated and automated through the Amazon Echo devices via Alexa. So being locked out of it meant no lighting, doorbell or any smart device that was integrated with Amazon Echo. Situations like this can quickly turn a luxury home into a nightmare and make us wish we had gone with dumb appliances instead.

The Nightmare of Owning a Smart Home

Owning a smart home is not everything about convenience, ease and sustainability. It also means that we lack privacy within our homes and also have someone else gain control over our home, like in Jackson’s case.

This is not just the case with smart homes but is the biggest problem with IoT or the Internet of Things. The IoT is nothing fancy to look forward to. It is extremely creepy that tech giants use smart devices to spy on and collect information about people. This is the case with every smart device, whether doorbells or thermostats.

Did you know that Ring has entered into an agreement with 400 police departments around the country that allowed the police to access video feeds from the doorbell? This is a major privacy risk for residents who are constantly at risk of being under surveillance by law enforcement. You don’t have to be a criminal to feel threatened by this.

Moreover, another risk of having a smart home is that it is possible for someone clever enough to hack your devices. Imagine the consequences of someone being able to do this, especially a device like a thermostat. Murderers no longer have to hire assassins. They can have hackers do the job from a remote location!

So until there are strict legislations to ensure that internet-connected devices cannot be hacked by strangers and that any company cannot collect personal data and use it to their advantage, it’s best to avoid being overly smart in our choice of household appliances.

Read all about how the Amazon smart home works here. 

Amazon Shuts Down Smart Home! The Bottom line

Smart homes may promise you comfort and convenience, but at what cost? Privacy is the right of every human individual. And dumb locks and keys will never fail you, never spy on you and never be hacked by strangers.

Also Read: What are the benefits of sustainable tourism development in 2023?

*All pics are courtesy of


Write A Comment