If Amazon has its way, soon you’ll be scanning your palm to pay for services rather than swiping a debit card. Amazon One is a new biometric payment technology that you may have seen at your local Whole Foods Market. It’s a quick and seamless way to pay that works by scanning your unique palm print.
Since its launch in 2020, the tech has been slowly popping up at the mega-company’s various outlets as well as third-party retailers. According to the website, 214 locations now offer the contactless tech. It works through the use of machine learning, which identifies customers by creating palm signatures.
Of course, privacy is a concern. To ensure your personal signature remains safe, Amazon uses encryptions and transfers them to a server. With Face ID and fingerprint scanning already common ways biometric data is captured, palm signatures may be natural progression for some. For others, the idea of giving big corporations increased access to your personal data is a major red flag.
U.S. senators Amy Klobuchar, Bill Cassidy, and Jon Ossoff have questioned the new technology in an open letter addressed to Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy: “In contrast with biometric systems like Apple’s Face ID and Touch ID or Samsung Pass, which store biometric information on a user’s device, Amazon One reportedly uploads biometric information to the cloud, raising unique security risks.”
Techcrunch reports that last year, a pending partnership between Amazon and ticketing company AXS was short-lived after hundreds of music fans, artists, and human rights groups protested the technology being implemented at Denver, Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The concern is justified, as Amazon has a history of storing user data, selling biometric facial recognition services, as well as working with law enforcement.
Without sufficient privacy protections in place, only time will tell whether or not Amazon One’s palm payment method takes off.