• E-commerce giant Amazon has received a patent to use drones for surveillance purposes. Amazon received the green-light from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its “Image creation using geo-fence data.”
  • The patent describes the delivery drone as being able “to be used to record video of consented user’s property to gather data that can be analyzed to look out, say for example, a broken window, or a fire or if a garage door was left open during the day.”
  • Per the patent, “the surveillance function of the drone can be limited through geo-fencing, a technology used to draw a virtual boundary around the property under surveillance.”
  • Additionally, data or images captured outside the geo-fence can be removed or obscured to protect privacy.
  • A senior PR manager for Amazon, John Tagle, wrote in an email: “We take customer privacy very seriously. 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.”
  • Tagle added: “The patent clearly states that it would be an opt-in service available to customers who authorize monitoring of their home.”
  • So far, there is no set date on when the surveillance drones will launch, and the only timeline is for “sometime in the future.”
  • Previously, Amazon has used drones to deliver packages quickly to customers in neighborhoods.

Reference Links

  • Reuters: Amazon gets U.S. patent to use delivery drones for surveillance service READ
  • The Verge: Amazon patents ‘surveillance as a service’ tech for its delivery drones READ
  • Business Insider: Amazon got clearance to build drones that can carry out surveillance on customers’ homes between deliveries READ
  • CNET: Amazon granted patent for surveillance drones service READ

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