Amazon has unveiled a new payment method called Amazon One, which the company intends to roll out in their physical stores such as Whole Foods. Amazon One scans the palm of customers which links their biometric data to a payment method. All customers have to do is swipe their hand over a device.
Below is a video demonstrating the new payment method.
According to Amazon:
“We’re always looking for ways to make our customers’ lives better, and one area where we’ve spent time innovating is the customer shopping experience in stores. Today, our physical retail team is excited to introduce a new innovation called Amazon One. Amazon One is a fast, convenient, contactless way for people to use their palm to make everyday activities like paying at a store, presenting a loyalty card, entering a location like a stadium, or badging into work more effortless. The service is designed to be highly secure and uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to create a person’s unique palm signature.”
However, some have raised concerns related to Amazon collecting the biometric data of its customers. There has been bipartisan criticism toward Amazon related to the privacy and security of Amazon One. Three U.S. senators, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, Republican Bill Cassidy, and Democrat Jon Ossoff, voiced their concerns in a letter to Amazon earlier this year.
The senators’ letter stated:
“Our concerns about user privacy are heightened by evidence that Amazon shared voice data with third-party contractors and allegations that Amazon has violated biometric privacy laws.”
“We are also concerned that Amazon may use data from Amazon One, including data from third-party customers that may purchase and use Amazon One devices, to further cement its competitive power and suppress competition across various markets.”
Amazon has refused to officially comment on these concerns but has directed questions to its website which ensures the safety and privacy of all customer data.
According to Amazon:
“At Amazon, nothing is more important to us than earning and maintaining customer trust. We take data security and privacy seriously, and any sensitive data is treated in accordance with our long-standing policies. With this in mind, we designed Amazon One to be highly secure. For example, the Amazon One device is protected by multiple security controls, and palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device. Rather, the images are encrypted and sent to a highly secure area we custom-built for Amazon One in the cloud where we create your palm signature.”
Amazon further claims that customers can request the deletion of their biometric data at any point on their website after the completion of transactions. Amazon also maintains that customers are free to use existing payment methods, such as credit and debit cards, and that Amazon One is just an additional option.
However, this is not the first time Amazon has faced scrutiny for its business practices. Congress and regulators have investigated alleged anti-competitive behavior toward small businesses, Amazon has reportedly already violated biometric data laws by sharing customer “voice data” with third parties, and there have been a slew of existing security concerns related to comprised customer data through hacks.
Featured Image is a screenshot from embedded video.
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