Heathrow probe after ‘security files found on USB stick’

Aeroplane taking off from Heathrow AirportImage copyright

Heathrow Airport says it has launched an internal investigation after a USB stick containing security information was reportedly found on the street.

The Sunday Mirror reported that the USB stick had 76 folders with maps, videos and documents, including details of measures used to protect the Queen.

A man found it in west London and handed it into the paper, it said.

Heathrow said all of its security plans had been reviewed and it was “confident” the airport was secure.

“We have also launched an internal investigation to understand how this happened and are taking steps to prevent a similar occurrence in future,” it said.

The Sunday Mirror said there were at least 174 documents on the stick, which it said was found on the pavement, and some were marked as “confidential” or “restricted”, but could be read.

Some files disclosed the types of ID needed to access restricted areas, a timetable of security patrols and maps pinpointing CCTV cameras, the paper said.

One document highlighted recent terror attacks and talked about the type of threat the airport could face, it said.

The information has been passed to Heathrow intelligence chiefs, the Sunday Mirror said.

The statement from the airport said Heathrow’s “top priority” was the safety and security of passengers and staff.

“The UK and Heathrow have some of the most robust aviation security measures in the world, and we remain vigilant to evolving threats by updating our procedures on a daily basis.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41792995

UK must prepare for fourth industrial revolution, says report

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The UK must do more to take advantage of technology such as robotics, a report says

Advanced digital technology could give UK manufacturing a huge boost and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, a new report claims.

The independent review, chaired by the head of Siemens UK, highlights the benefits of robotics, 3D printing and artificial intelligence.

But Juergen Maier said the UK needed “greater ambition” to take advantage of such technology.

And he said a huge number of workers would need to be retrained.

His report calls for a commission to help businesses adjust to changing technologies.

The report, Made Smarter, brought together executives from companies such as Rolls Royce, GKN and IBM, with representatives from small firms as well as academics from the universities of Newcastle and Cambridge.

Its recommendations will help inform the government’s industrial strategy plans.

Professor Maier told the BBC’s Today programme the transition would mean job losses: “On the one hand it is going to create productivity and more exports and through that we can create more jobs but at the same time robotics and artificial intelligence will displace some jobs.

“The best thing we can do is to make ourselves ready for it in a very proactive way and that means training our people… we need to up skill one million existing workers in the industrial and manufacturing sector… so they can transition from tasks that might be displaced to, for example, managing or programming robots.”

The report proposes:

  • More targeted support for companies, re-skilling workers, and a National Adoption Programme piloted in the north west
  • Five digital research centres to improve innovation and capability
  • A national commission in charge of turning Britain into a global leader in industrial digital technologies

The proposals were backed by CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn, who warned about the UK’s international competition.

“The UK must compete with China, the USA and much of Europe where there are already advanced plans to embrace the fourth industrial revolution,” she said.

Sean Redmond, chief executive of software firm Vertizan and a contributor to the report, said the UK needed to “catch up with international competitors”.

“Smaller businesses that are growing at scale, especially industrial companies, need support learning about how digitalisation can help their business grow,” he said.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41795502

Facebook to show who buys political ads

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Tech giants are under pressure to improve transparency of political ads

Facebook has announced measures to make political advertising on the social media platform more transparent.

Political advertisers will have to verify their identity and location and their posts will carry a disclosure saying “paid for by”.

The steps come amid allegations that Russian-backed groups used social media ads to interfere in the US election.

Executives from Facebook and other internet giants will testify before a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

“When it comes to advertising on Facebook, people should be able to tell who the advertiser is and see the ads they’re running, especially for political ads,” Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice president of ads, said in a blog post.

By clicking on the “paid for by” disclosure, users would be able to see more details about the advertiser, he added.

Facebook said it was expanding the transparency measures to all ads, and that they would all have to be linked to a page. Users would also be able to view the ads any page was running, it added.

Tests for the new tools would start in Canada, with a goal of having them in place in the US ahead of the midterm elections, in November 2018.

Tech giants are keen to show they can self-regulate after it was found that Russian-backed groups were exploiting their ad platforms.

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Mr Trump has denied that there was any collusion between his campaign and Russia

On Tuesday, Twitter announced similar transparency measures, including labels for election-related ads and more details about who funded them.

It also banned two of Russia’s biggest media outlets – Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik – from buying advertising amid fears they attempted to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election.

Russia has repeatedly denied claims that it interfered in the election, but the allegations have sparked an investigation into possible links between Russia and US President Donald Trump. He denies there was any collusion.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41785158

Three criticised over £117 iPhone X monthly deal

Media captionWATCH: Dave Lee gets hands on with the new iPhone X

Three has announced a £117 ($150) per month contract for the iPhone X.

It’s been described as “extreme” and “crazy” on social media.

The two-year deal, which includes unlimited data and talk time, is for the largest version of the device. The same contract with an iPhone 8 costs £44 per month, plus a £99 upfront fee.

The handset is sold by Apple for £1,149 but under Three’s deal customers could end up paying more than £2,100, based on its current sim-only charges.

Three’s current all-inclusive sim-only deal is £29 per month.

The firm said it had various tariffs to suit different customers.

“There are a small amount of people that prefer not to pay an upfront cost yet want access to all-you-can eat data, minutes and texts and this is aimed at them,” Three told the BBC.

There are cheaper alternatives, it added.

“If that was an electrical retailer’s ‘interest rate’ there’d be outrage,” tweeted Michael Firth.

“No phone is worth over £30 [per month] in my opinion,” tweeted The Cyber Heartbeat.

Smartphone price barriers

Other operators are offering the device on a monthly contract ranging between £80 and £88 but are also often charging an additional upfront payment.

O2 is charging £86 per month plus a one-off £119.99 for a similar deal with 50GB data on the larger phone.

Vodafone does not offer unlimited data either but its most expensive tariff is £80 per month plus a £100 charge for 60GB per month of data.

The phone is currently available to pre-order only.

Apple’s pricing for the iPhone X had already shifted smartphone price barriers, said analyst Kester Mann from CCS Insight.

“However, Three’s bold move to break through the psychological £100 per month barrier is a huge ask even for its most dedicated and loyal fans,” he added.

Technology journalist Kate Bevan said it is generally cheaper to buy a handset upfront rather than as part of a contract deal.

“I’m sure the iPhone X will be a very good phone,” she said.

“However, if I were going to buy one – which I’m not – I would hold off until the new year if possible, to give Apple a chance to iron out any wrinkles with it and to see if prices from mobile providers come down a bit.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41776214

Facebook denies ‘listening’ to conversations

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A Facebook executive has denied the social network uses a device’s microphone to listen to what users are saying and then send them relevant ads.

Rob Goldman, the tech giant’s vice-president of ads, was responding to a tweet by PJ Vogt, the presenter of a tech podcast called Reply All.

Anecdotally, many people report seeing adverts which appear to be related to recent, real-life conversations.

Mr Vogt had asked for details of these specific occasions.

“I run ads product at Facebook. We don’t – and have never – used your microphone for ads. Just not true,” Mr Goldman wrote.

When another Twitter user asked him if that included Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, he replied, “Yes.”

PJ Vogt got hundreds of replies to his original tweet.

“A co-worker got an ad saying, “So you popped the question!” minutes after he proposed, before he told anyone it had happened,” wrote Tori Hoover.

“At work, happened to me though earlier this year. Working as a barista, got a burn, talked to my partner in person about it, went to Target, bought the burn cream, and saw an ad on FB for the exact product I purchased. Never searched for product either,” wrote Brigitte Bonasoro.

  • Professor denies viral Facebook claim

In a statement on its website from 2016, Facebook denied the practice.

“We show ads based on people’s interests and other profile information – not what you’re talking out loud about,” it said.

One theory is that the ads and their connection to an individual are purely coincidental – that the ad may have appeared before but had not been noticed because it had no prior relevance.

“If you take something that has a tiny chance of occurring and give it enough opportunities to occur, it inevitably will happen,” said mathematics professor David Hand from Imperial College London when the BBC investigated whether smartphones were “listening in” to conversations last year.

“We are evolutionarily trained to seek explanations.”

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41776215

YouTuber Adam Blampied apologises for ‘manipulating’ women

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What Culture

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Blampied was best-known as a presenter for the What Culture Wrestling YouTube channel, which has over a million subscribers

Adam Blampied, a prominent YouTube video blogger, has issued an apology for “manipulating” women into sending him images on social media.

“To everyone I’ve hurt… I’m so sorry,” said the former What Culture employee in a statement on Wednesday.

He apologised to those women he repeatedly messaged and encouraged to “send me images of themselves”.

Eleven minutes after the statement was released, an individual alleged Blampied asked her to “send him nudes”.

Blampied presented videos for What Culture on YouTube until September 2017, when he parted company with the organisation. His new employers, Cultaholic, told the BBC he is unable to be reached for comment.

Peter Willis, Director of What Culture Limited, told the BBC Blampied’s departure “was not linked to the series of Twitter messages that were published [on Wednesday], nor were we aware of any of the events within those tweets until reading Adam’s own statement.

“What Culture categorically condemns all sexual harassment, predatory behaviour and abuses of position and power.”

‘In the end, I relented’

Shortly after Blampied’s statement, an individual – @SRbackwards – alleged on Twitter the YouTuber asked her for nude images, calling him “a manipulative sexual predator”.

“Knowing that I was 19, drunk, sexually inexperienced and had moral objections to sending him nudes, he continued to try to persuade me,” they posted.

“In the end, I relented.

“He was charming, he was the face of a YouTube channel and I’d been a fan of him for a while.

“He made me feel so good about myself for about six hours, then he made me feel like utter shit for months.”

‘Don’t attack the women’

Skip Twitter post by @AdamTheBlampied

End of Twitter post by @AdamTheBlampied

Blampied has since made a string of comments on Twitter, urging his followers on Thursday: “Please don’t attack the women for speaking out.

“They have been hurt, by me.

“Please don’t publicly leap to my defence on this. My behaviour doesn’t warrant it.

“The purpose of this was not to excuse myself, but because it’s what the women deserve, for the wider public to see my behaviour.

“Please be kind and understanding to the women. More than I was.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41764308

Hotel booking sites probed by consumer watchdog

Montage of travel sites

Hotel booking sites are to be probed by the UK’s competition watchdog to see if consumers are being misled by them.

The Competition and Markets Authority is concerned that rather than helping consumers, the sites might actually be making it more difficult for them.

The CMA said it was “concerned about the clarity, accuracy and presentation of information on sites”.

The investigation will examine areas such as hidden charges, search results, and discount claims.

Leading booking sites include Expedia and Booking.com.

Booking.com said it will not be commenting at this time.

Ranking influence

The watchdog says 70% of people who shop around for accommodation use hotel booking sites.

Nisha Arora, a senior director at the CMA, told the BBC’s Today programme: “We are concerned about the clarity and accuracy of these sites. Rather than helping consumers they may actually be making it more difficult for them.”

She explained that the suggestions offered by such sites were not ranked solely on the preferences entered by the user.

“When you put in your criteria – which room you want, when you want to stay – they are listed in a certain order. This is not just influenced by consumer preference but by commission – commercial considerations – and consumers might not be aware of this.”

Commission omission

Simon Calder, travel editor of The Independent, highlighted the less-than-obvious commission rates: “Not every traveller is fully aware of the commission levels that many of these hotel booking websites apply. The starting rate is 15%, which means that £15 out of every £100 stay is being taken by the intermediary.

“Hotels sometimes pay even more commission for increased visibility – ie giving the booking site even more in return for a higher profile on search returns.”

He says he tends to contact the hotel direct, to see if they will match the online rate and “perhaps provide a bonus such as a welcome drink or a free breakfast into the bargain”.

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The CMA has written to companies across the whole sector. It is seeking evidence from both the websites and hotels, and would also like consumers to get in touch with it and share their experiences.

It will look into how search results are ranked, and it also wants more information on whether extra charges, such as taxes and booking fees, are clearly displayed.

Another area being looked at is the way sites display how many rooms are left, how many people are viewing a particular hotel and messages that claim to state the last time at which a similar room was booked.

Ms Arora said the CMA wanted to hear how the sites gathered the information for these claims.

The CMA is concerned this is used for “pressure selling”, creating a “false impression of room availability or rush customers into making a booking decision”.

The investigation into hotel websites follows a year-long CMA probe into price comparison sites.

The CMA concluded that price comparison websites worked best for car insurance and worst for broadband.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41769488

NHS ‘could have prevented’ WannaCry ransomware attack

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WannaCry was the biggest cyber-attack that has affected the NHS to date

NHS trusts were left vulnerable in a major ransomware attack in May because cyber-security recommendations were not followed, a government report has said.

More than a third of trusts in England were disrupted by the WannaCry ransomware, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

At least 6,900 NHS appointments were cancelled as a result of the attack.

NHS England said no patient data had been compromised or stolen and praised the staff response.

The NAO chief said the Department of Health and the NHS must now “get their act together”.

  • Cyber-attack: Your questions answered
  • WannaCry: What can you do to protect your business?
  • Malware, patches and worms defined

WannaCry, which spread to more than 150 countries in a worldwide ransomware outbreak beginning on 12 May, was the biggest cyber-attack to have hit the NHS to date.

The malware encrypted data on infected computers and demanded a ransom roughly equivalent to £230 ($300).

The NAO report said there was no evidence that any NHS organisation paid the ransom – but the financial cost of the incident remained unknown.

An assessment of 88 out of 236 trusts by NHS Digital before the attack found that none passed the required cyber-security standards.

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As a result of disruption caused by WannaCry, patients were turned away from appointments

The report said NHS trusts had not acted on critical alerts from NHS Digital and a warning from the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office in 2014 to patch or migrate away from vulnerable older software.

The Department of Health also lacked important information, the report said.

“Before 12 May 2017, the department had no formal mechanism for assessing whether NHS organisations had complied with its advice and guidance.”

Organisations could also have better managed their computers’ firewalls – but in many cases they did not, it said.

NHS organisations have not reported any cases of harm to patients or of their data being stolen as a result of WannaCry.

NHS England has identified 6,912 appointments – including operations – that were cancelled as a direct result of the ransomware.

But it estimated that about 19,000 appointments in total may have been affected.

Media captionWhat is ransomware?

Cases included at least 139 people potentially with cancer, who had urgent referrals cancelled.

It is not known:

  • how many GP appointments were cancelled
  • how many ambulances and individuals were diverted from five accident and emergency departments unable to treat some patients
  • how many trusts or GPs experienced delays in information, such as test results

The NAO credits the widely reported work of cyber-security researcher Marcus Hutchins, who accidentally helped to stop the spread of WannaCry.

His “kill switch” involved registering a domain name linked to the malware, which deactivated the program’s ability to spread automatically.

Media captionLISTEN: How ‘Malware Tech’ became an ‘accidental hero’

Home Office Minister Ben Wallace told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that the government was “as sure as possible” that North Korea was behind the attack.

“This attack, we believe quite strongly that it came from a foreign state,” he said.

“It is widely believed in the community and across a number of countries that North Korea [took on] this role”.

Speaking on the same programme, former chairman of NHS Digital, Kingsley Manning, said that a failure to upgrade old computer systems at a local level within the NHS had contributed to the rapid spread of the malware.

He said: “The problem with cyber security for the NHS is [that] it has a particular vulnerability… It’s very interconnected so if you get an attack in one place it tends to spread.”

Mr Manning blamed a lack of time and resources but also “frankly a lack of focus, a lack of taking it seriously” for individual NHS organisations’ failure to keep up with cyber-security improvements.

“This was an extremely unsophisticated attack,” he added.

The NAO said the NHS “has accepted that there are lessons to learn” from WannaCry and will now develop a response plan.

It will also ensure that critical cyber-security updates – such as applying software patches – are carried out by IT staff, the NAO said.

WannaCry was “a relatively unsophisticated attack and could have been prevented by the NHS following basic IT security best practice,” said Sir Amyas Morse, comptroller and auditor-general of the NAO.

“There are more sophisticated cyber-threats out there than WannaCry so the Department and the NHS need to get their act together to ensure the NHS is better protected against future attacks.”

Keith McNeil, NHS chief clinical information officer for health and care, said: “As the NAO report makes clear, no harm was caused to patients and there were no incidents of patient data being compromised or stolen.

“Tried and tested emergency plans were activated quickly and our hard-working NHS staff went the extra mile to provide patient care, keeping the impact on NHS services and patients to a minimum.”

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Analysis – by Rory Cellan-Jones, technology correspondent

For many executives, a serious cyber-attack is now very high on their list of risks to their organisations and a priority for disaster planning.

So what is most shocking in this report is the lack of planning at a local level in the NHS for such an event.

To be fair, the Department of Health had developed a plan – it was just that it had not been properly communicated or tested in the NHS trusts. When disaster struck, nobody seemed to know who was in charge or what to do.

Of course, all of this could have been avoided if security patches had been applied to protect the Windows 7 systems common throughout the NHS. Once again, there had been warnings sent out by NHS Digital, but many trusts failed to act upon them – though in that they were no different from many organisations around the world that were also hit.

In one way, the NHS was lucky – if, instead of a Friday in May, the attack had taken place on a Monday in winter, with a week’s appointments affected, the damage would have been far worse.

Cyber-security experts will tell you that dealing with attacks like these is mostly a management rather than a technology problem. And in this case the NHS proved itself incapable of managing a speedy and effective response to its first major cyber-security crisis.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41753022

Geordie Shore’s Marnie Simpson broke ad rules on Snapchat

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Two images uploaded in June should have been identified as ads

Two Snapchat posts by the reality TV star Marnie Simpson have fallen foul of the UK’s advertising rules.

The Geordie Shore and Celebrity Big Brother cast member uploaded images of products from two firms that she has business relationships with, without identifying them as adverts.

This was judged to be a breach of the rules against “hidden” advertising on social media.

It is the first case of its kind to have involved Snapchat.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) normally deals with such matters by ordering offending posts to be deleted or amended.

But since Snapchat Story posts automatically self-delete 24 hours after being added, Ms Simpson has not been ordered to take any action.

The two companies involved, however, have agreed to ensure the hashtag #ad appears alongside adverts they produce in the future.

Media captionASA chief Guy Parker: ‘Rules apply equally to Snapchat’

Ms Simpson could not be reached for comment.

The 25-year-old has been a “brand ambassador” for tooth polish-maker Diamond Whites for nearly two years, while her management agency, Unleashed PR, began selling a range of coloured cosmetic contact lenses marketed as being “iSpyEyes by Marnie Simpson” earlier this year.

On 20 June, Ms Simpson uploaded two images.

The first showed her posing with a Diamond Whites case with the text “50% of [sic] everything” superimposed, and a link to the company’s site.

The second featured the celebrity wearing a grey lens on one of her eyes, with the words “mrs grey coming soon” placed alongside her.

In both cases an unidentified individual contacted the ASA to complain the images had not been identified as ads.

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Marnie Simpson was a Miss Newcastle finalist before joining MTV’s Geordie Shore

Diamond Whites tried to defend the promotion featuring its product on the grounds that Ms Simpson’s followers would already be aware of her commercial relationship with the firm. But the watchdog did not accept that this would be known by everyone who saw the image.

Unleashed PR suggested that in its case the wording featured was so vague that consumers would not know what product was being advertised or where to buy it. But the ASA said its code still required marketing promotions to be flagged as such.

“These might be our first Snapchat rulings, but the principle behind them is as old as the hills – ads, wherever they appear, must be obviously identifiable as ads,” the authority’s chief executive Guy Parker told the BBC.

“It’s just not fair to expect people to play the detective, to work out the status of a tweet, post or story.”

Other recent cases where the advertising watchdog has intervened:

  • a post by the make-up blogger Sheikhbeauty on Instagram promoting Flat Tummy Tea that did not make clear she was being paid by the drinks company
  • a tweet by the TV presenter AJ Odudu that featured a photo of an Alpro dessert with text describing it as one of her favourite snacks, but without any acknowledgement that she was being paid to promote it on social media
  • a video uploaded by Made In Chelsea TV star Millie Mackintosh advertising a Britvic drink that used #sp – referring to “sponsored post” – to identify its nature. The ASA said it did not think consumers would realise what the hashtag referred to

The ASA does not have the power to impose fines itself, but can refer repeat offenders – whether they are brands or the celebrities endorsing them – to Trading Standards to take further action.

However, it hopes that the negative publicity that arises from its interventions acts as deterrent enough.

Even so, the ASA acknowledged earlier this month that an increasing amount of its time was being taken up policing “influencer marketing”. And it urged marketers to put monitoring systems in place so that they themselves could spot and fix instances where celebrities had failed to use the #ad label.

How lucrative is it to be a social media influencer?

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Marketers tend to be secretive about how much they pay specific influencers to promote their clients.

But PMYB – a Nottingham-based agency that works with more than 10,000 influencers – told the BBC that campaigns could range from £5,000 to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

It said that personalities that could deliver a YouTube audience had traditionally been able to charge the most – in part because people are likely to spend longer watching a video than reading a tweet – but Instagram fashionistas were also among the top earners.

Managing director Rohan Midha added that the agency had been involved in a “surprisingly low number” of campaigns on Snapchat to date, and that when it was used it was typically in addition to other social networks.

Although TV stars might seem an obvious pick, they can often be very expensive to employ because their agents inflate their prices.

San Francisco-based Captiv8 – which has developed software to match brands with relevant ambassadors – suggests “micro-influencers” often have more impact.

In other words, a financial tech specialist with tens of thousands of followers might be more valuable to a bank than a generalist with hundreds of thousands.

Even so, reach still plays a role in calculating an influencer’s worth. Last year, Captiv8 estimated that personalities with more than seven million followers could charge on average:

  • $300,000 (£227,000) for a YouTube video
  • $187,500 for a Facebook post
  • $150,000 for an Instagram photo
  • $150,000 for a Snapchat story
  • $60,000 for a Twitter post

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41733125

Amazon service will let couriers open front doors

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The Amazon Key service uses the Cloud Cam camera

Amazon is launching a service that will let couriers open people’s front doors and put deliveries inside.

Users of Amazon Key will need a smart lock and Cloud Cam camera.

Couriers will scan a package barcode and once the delivery has been verified online, the camera will start recording and the delivery person will be able to unlock the door using an app.

One analyst said consumers would have to be convinced the system was secure if they were to use it.

Users will be able to choose to watch the delivery live or receive a short video after the drop-off.

Compatible smart locks include models made by Yale and Kwikset.

The system can also be used to give access to dog walkers, cleaners or visiting guests.

The online shopping giant has long sought ways of improving delivery convenience for customers – including a trial with Audi in 2015 in which packages were deposited in car boots.


“Amazon seems to be on an unstoppable mission to own every aspect of the home,” said CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood.

Mr Wood said he used a video doorbell and smart lock to give couriers access to his garage. He said asking customers to make their front doors accessible might be more difficult.

“My understanding is there’s an awful lot of work being done to make connected locks secure,” he said, in order to address security concerns.

“But it would only take a few incidents to stop this dead in the water – people wouldn’t want to have something on their front door if they felt it wasn’t secure.”

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Amazon Key works with a range of smart locks

Last month, Amazon rival Nest launched new smart home products, including an internet-connected intruder alarm and a video-streaming doorbell that could be paired with a Yale smart lock.

This too allows doors to be unlocked remotely, giving access to friends or couriers.

Amazon Key will initially be available in 37 US cities where the firm’s own courier, Amazon Logistics, will handle deliveries.

“These individuals are thoroughly vetted, with comprehensive background checks and motor vehicle records reviews,” Amazon says.

Users with home security systems will need to disarm them on delivery day in order to allow couriers access.

Amazon also recommends not using in-home delivery if a pet can reach the front door.

The Amazon-made Cloud Cam camera costs $120 (£90) and a bundle with a smart lock and free installation will be available for $249.99.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41747074