Delivery Driver Accuses Man of Racism, So Amazon Shuts Down His Entire Smart Home

Hadrian /
Hadrian /

A Microsoft engineer has found out the hard way that a Chinese-style social credit score is not a fun system to live under. After his smart doorbell was falsely accused of spouting racial slurs at an Amazon delivery driver, Amazon shut everything down at his smart home.

Brandon Jackson has a smart home, and all of his devices, gadgets, and appliances are connected through Amazon Echo and Alexa. He had a package delivered to his home on May 24th. The next day, his Echo Show had signed out, and he wasn’t able to interact with any of the devices in his smart home. Everything was shut down.

He thought it was an innocent mistake at first, so he contacted Amazon. An executive at the company responded to him and informed him that his services had been cut off because his doorbell had said something racist to the delivery driver.

Fortunately for Jackson, he had a recording—with audio—from his smart doorbell. When the driver dropped off his package, the doorbell uttered the pre-programmed phrase, “Excuse me, how can I help you?”

It took a week to clear his name, but Jackson says that Amazon finally switched all of his devices back on. We have so many questions.

Even if Jackson’s doorbell had said something racist, would that be justification for Amazon to shut down all of the devices that he owns? How crazy is it that he had to prove his innocence before he could get his devices restarted? Did Amazon fire the driver who falsely accused Jackson of racism, especially considering the disruption it caused to Jackson’s life? Does anyone really want to live under this kind of a system, where the tech companies have total control over their life?