Amazon Locks Man Out Of Smart Home Devices Over False Racism Claims

According to a June 4 blog post on Medium, Amazon locked a Microsoft engineer, Brandon Jackson, out of his smart home devices over false racism claims.

Amazon locked a Microsoft engineer out of his smart home devices for nearly a week after a delivery driver accused him of uttering a racial slur.

According to a June 4 blog post on Medium, Brandon Jackson found himself locked out of his Amazon Echo Show on May 25. When he contacted customer service, he was given the number of an Amazon executive – which he thought was a scam.

When I connected with the executive, they asked if I knew why my account had been locked,” he wrote. “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.‘”

Jackson, who is black, said that the accusation was improbable, as many of the delivery drivers in his area are the same race – thus, the racial slur was “highly unlikely.”

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Jackson tracked down the time that the driver would have dropped off his package (May 24 at 6:05 p.m.), and compared it  to footage from his home at the time of the incident – revealing that nobody was home at the time of the delivery. Instead, Jackson thinks that his Eufy automated doorbell said to the driver “Excuse me, can I help you?”

“The driver, who was walking away and wearing headphones, must have misinterpreted the message,” wrote Jackson, adding that even after he shared the evidence with Amazon, his account remained locked.

“Despite numerous calls and emails, it wasn’t until Friday afternoon [on May 26] that I received confirmation that the investigation had started,” he wrote, adding that it wasn’t until May 31 that access was finally restored.

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