If you want 'surveillance as a service', Amazon's offering it

Posted Jun 21, 2019 by Tim Sandle
Amazon may not yet be using delivery drones, however this has not prevented the e-commerce giant from continuing to develop and to enhance drone technology and with it a new offering: surveillance-as-a-service.
A Chinese-made DJI Mavic Zoom drone flies during a product launch in New York in 2018. Washington ha...
A Chinese-made DJI Mavic Zoom drone flies during a product launch in New York in 2018. Washington has warned Chinese-made drones could be giving Beijing's spy agencies unfettered access to sensitive material
For those concerned about Amazon's controversial application of facial recognition technology the prospect of Amazon developing a “surveillance as a service” option might not sit too comfortably. U.S. authorities do not seem as concerned about data privacy issues by granting Amazon a patent that outlines how its future-state fleet of drones could be equipped with the technology necessary keep an eye on customers’ property between deliveries, as The Verge has reported.
While the intention is to in-build data protection, at least of the customer who might request this service, there are risks that the scope could be used for other activities. For example, where a resident wishes to know what his or her neighbour is up to.
Amazon is pushing ahead with drone technology, having previously showcased how the company intends to use drones to deliver items to customers. Amazon has also been supporting technological advances with UAVs like developing a 'super-quiet' drone for making neighbourhood deliveries at night, as so not to wake people up.
The new technological development moves into a different arena. Amazon states it has received a patent for "Image creation using geo-fence data", granted by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application details how unmanned aerial vehicles can have the functionality to provide a secondary service of checking on an individual's property while the flying machines are out undertaking deliveries.
Amazon has rebutted any suggestion that its drones would be used for spying. John Tagle, senior PR manager for Amazon told CNET: "Some reports have suggested that this technology would spy or gather data on homes without authorization -- 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."
Nonetheless, so some the idea of domestic drone surveillance will spark controversy.