Should The Locksmithing Industry Jump Into The Uber Bandwagon?

The perils of automated key duplication

We have seen how the
On Demand
fever has caught on. There are now convenient free apps for
almost everything. Takeout food, cab services and even booking private jet rid
es. All you have to
do is download an app and start ordering while you watch tv.
We certainly praise technological advances and entrepreneurship. We know how conveni
ence and
the ability to lower prices can certainly improve our living standard
s. However, sometimes there
are unintended consequences that lead us to question if convenience should trump
The relatively novel industry of automated key duplication is expandin
g. New York Based KeyMe is
to be adding more than 2000 kiosks all over the US by the end of 2017
They offer a key duplication service that allows you to take a picture of
your key, store it online
and 3D print it in any of their kiosks. Sounds great to have your key
duplicated at the nearest
convenience store. However, this creates a new problem: Anyone with a smartp
hone can make a
duplicate out of your keys and gain access to your house or vehicle.
People should be worried and with good reason. As locksmiths, we know that a
burglar can create copies of your keys using clay impressions or a key gaug
e. But it required
certain uncommon skills.
With these new duplicate in a box kiosks, virtually anyone can do it
. What ́s more, they do not
even need to hold your keys for more than 30 seconds. This new metho
d of breaking into your
home or running away with your car is literally idiot-proof.
What ́s more, even if these companies found a way of guaranteeing that their serv
ice could only
be used by legit owners, there are other things that could go wrong. A du
plicate must be made
with extreme precision in order to work properly and not damage your locks.
It requires years of
training to even use the most advanced tools like laser cutters. A badly
crafted duplicate might not
work, or could really mess up your locks in a few weeks.
It has been found that not all of the keys created with the KeyMe app wor
k. More importantly,
there is no way of telling if these keys will only be used by their rig
htful owner
There is a reason why locksmiths are required to go through a rigorous background c
heck. We
must be sure a key never falls into the wrong hands.
So far, the automated duplication system does not offer a transparent way of kno
wing who can
duplicate a key. They say that all of their customer ́s information i
s erased after a duplicate is sent,
including their physical address. It means that a victim of burglary h
as no way of knowing if his key
was duplicated with their app.
In fact, someone conducted a small prank just to see how much
this business model could affect
our safety in general
. The article proves how easy it is to scan a key, and just go to the
closest 7-
Eleven to get a fresh copy of your victim ́s key.
Key Kong locksmith is not against the evolution of our industry. H
owever, we know the dangers of
unintended consequences.
We strongly advice all of our customers to only let certified master loc
ksmiths create key
duplicates. It is the only way to ensure that you are the only one wi
th access to your home or