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Amazon One palmprint payment system
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Security & privacy

Amazon wants you to scan your palm to pay – Would you do it?

Have you set up Apple Pay or Google Pay on your phone? It’s a fast and easy way to make purchases without having to touch a keypad or reach for your wallet. And once you set it up, you can use it online and in your apps. Tap or click here to use your phone to pay for everything.

Amazon introduced its contactless payment method in 2020 and rolled it out nationwide starting last year. Amazon One doesn’t require you to pull out your phone, but it does need your palmprint.

If this doesn’t raise alarm bells for you, it should. Read on for the implications of this technology as Amazon expands its retail empire.

The big rollout

Amazon One first appeared in Amazon Go stores before expanding to Whole Foods and other retail locations. Amazon is now adding its palm-recognition payment system to more than 65 Whole Foods stores across California. The tech is already available in select Whole Foods stores in Texas, Washington, California and New York.

The concept is simple: You make purchases by scanning your palm over a payment device at Amazon’s in-store kiosks. You don’t need to touch the scanner at all. Just sign up in person at an Amazon One device using a credit card. Then you scan one or both of your palms and enter your mobile phone number.

Sounds easy enough, but how does Amazon know it’s you making the purchases? That data must be stored somewhere.

Your data is stored in the cloud, and Amazon says, “it is only used to generate and update your unique palm signature, confirm whether you are an enrolled Amazon One customer, and confirm your identity.” Your palm data is stored separately from everyone else’s.

Security measures include encryption, data isolation and dedicated secure zones with restricted access controls. Last year, Amazon was eager to get the initiative off the ground, offering $10 in promotional credit for those who signed up.

Is the convenience worth it?

Amazon tracks you based on your purchases and what you say to Alexa. Do you use Amazon Music and watch TV shows on Prime Video? That’s also stored and tracked.

Do you really want Amazon to have your biometrics as well?

If you use Face ID or fingerprint scanners to unlock your devices or make purchases on your phone, you’re using biometrics. But that’s stored in your device. Amazon keeps your palmprint in its servers, which makes it vulnerable to hacks and data breaches. You’re also allowing Amazon to track your movement.

And who’s to say Amazon won’t share your palmprint with others, such as a government agency? Is it worth holding your palm over a scanner rather than taking a few seconds to use your credit card or phone for payment? We say it’s absolutely not worth it.

RELATED: 3 creepy lists that show everything Google knows about you

How to opt-out

Amazon will store your palm data as long as you use Amazon One. If you cancel your Amazon One ID, Amazon will permanently delete your palm signature from its servers after completing any remaining transactions. If you don’t use an Amazon Device for two years, your palm data will automatically be deleted.

There are two ways to cancel your Amazon One account. To unenroll from an Amazon One device, click Help, then select Unenroll from the Help menu.

The second method is to cancel online:

  • Sign in with the Amazon account linked to your Amazon One ID and go to Your Amazon ONE ID page. Scroll down and click Unenroll.
  • If you haven’t linked your Amazon One ID to an Amazon.com account, then you can cancel your Amazon One ID and request deletion of your personal information at one.amazon.com/data-deletion-request/verification.

Keep reading

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