How much is your palm print worth? If you ask Amazon, it will cost you around $ 10 in promotional credit if you enroll your palm prints in their stores without payment and link them to your Amazon account.
Last year, Amazon introduced its new biometric palm print scanners, Amazon one, so customers can pay for products in some stores by moving their prints from the palm of their hand over one of these scanners. In February, the company expanded your palm scanners to other Amazon 4 star, book and grocery stores in Seattle.
Amazon has since expanded its biometric scanning technology to its stores in the United States, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Texas.
The retail and cloud giant says its palm scanning hardware “captures the minute features of your palm, both surface details such as lines and ridges, as well as subcutaneous features, such as vein patterns, to create the signature of your palm “, which is then stored in the cloud and used to confirm your identity when you are in one of their stores.
What exactly is Amazon doing with this data? The palm print alone may not do much good, although Amazon He says uses an unspecified “subset” of anonymous palm data to improve technology. But by linking it to your Amazon account, Amazon can use the data collects, such as purchase history, to target ads, offers, and recommendations over time.
Amazon also says that it stores your palm data indefinitely, unless you choose to delete the data once there are no pending transactions, or if you don’t use the feature for two years.
While the idea of contactless palmprint scanning to pay for products during a pandemic may seem like a novel idea, it is an idea that should be approached with caution and skepticism given Amazon’s previous efforts in technology development. biometric. Amazon’s controversial facial recognition technology, which historically sold to police and law enforcement, was the subject of lawsuits alleging that the company violated state laws that prohibit the use of personal biometric data without permission.
“The dystopian future of science fiction is now. It’s horrifying that Amazon is asking people to sell their bodies, but it’s even worse that people are doing it for such a low price, ”said Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the New York-based Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. , in an email. to TechCrunch.
“Biometric data is one of the only ways that companies and governments can permanently track us. You can change your name, you can change your Social Security number, but you cannot change your palm print. The more we normalize these tactics, the more difficult it will be for them to escape. If we don’t try to line up in the arena here, I’m very afraid of what our future will be like, ”Cahn said.
When contacted, an Amazon spokesperson declined to comment.