Oh no – Amazon launches palm-print payments scanner

October 6, 2020
Safety and Privacy

Oh no – Amazon launches palm-print payments scanner

But Cash Welcome has the inside information on why it won’t fly …

“This is not realistic”

Remember when having your fingerprints taken meant you were probably being charged for a serious crime? No one wanted to have their fingerprints on file, on a government or police computer.

Those days are over, old fogey. Soon you may be asked for your whole palm print just to buy goods and services you need to live.

In another ‘solution for a non-existent problem,’ Amazon have launched Amazon One, a payments scanner for real-world shops and retailers that replaces the need for cards, phones, devices, PINs and signatures with your palm print.

The Amazon One payments terminal reads the buyer’s palm print when they hover their hand in front of the scanner "for about a second or so."

Customers with credit or debit cards can insert their card, hold their hand in front of the scanner and link their palm to their payment device. Then you leave your card at home and use your hand to pay.  

Does that sound easy? It is very easy. Your information is recorded of course, according to this report from the BBC.

Amazon One is being trialled at two of Amazon's physical stores in Seattle, USA. It can also be used for workplace ID or entering events. Amazon is in "active discussions with several potential customers" to roll out the technology to more retailers.

"No one should have to provide biometric data in order to buy goods or services,” said Silkie Carlo, Director of Big Brother Watch.

Amazon said palm prints are not stored in the shops, “but encrypted and kept securely in the Cloud.”

To delete their personal data and palm print, customers can access the Amazon website.

“Amazon’s attempt to normalise biometric payment and home surveillance devices risks building a world in which we're more easily tracked and recorded, which will inevitably disempower citizens," Silkie Carlo told the BBC.

Cash Welcome sought the advice of industry professionals currently embedded deep in the payments industry. The product review we got back was not glowing.

“Palm vein reading requires direct contact to the device for scanning which is opposite from what people have changed their life-style – contactless,”  - said one payments industry insider based in Australia.

“Storing the data is another point with a big question mark, as like all other biometric system, people have to provide their own bio information to server to make his solution work.

“I think those two reasons are why this is not realistic.”

While companies like Amazon continue to collect more information about their customers, cash continues to be the most trusted and reliable method of payment.

“Cash is safe, private, reliable and surcharge-free,” said Tim Wildash from Next Payments.

Find out more about cash and your privacy online at CashWelcome.ORG.  

Please share and sign our “Save Cash” petition at Change.org.

Related posts