Amazon offering $10 credit to customers for their palm print
Big Tech has been a forerunner at putting a price on your personal and biometric data. Recently, Amazon announced that it would give each customer $10 in promotional credit if they link their biometric palm scan to their Amazon account. The system will be used at the e-commerce giant's stores in major US cities, including Seattle, New York, and New Jersey. Here's more information.
Amazon claims that with each palm scan, it captures "the minute characteristics of your palm—both surface-area details like lines and ridges as well as subcutaneous features such as vein patterns—to create your palm signature." Amazon added that the palm scans are stored indefinitely in the cloud unless the customer chooses to delete the data and there are no outstanding transactions left.
Amazon claimed that it would also delete unused palm scans after two years. The technology, called Amazon One, was first introduced last year when the e-commerce giant allowed customers to pay for goods in some cashier-less stores by scanning their palm print and authenticating the purchase. By February, Amazon One had expanded to the company's grocery and book stores, too.
Well, what does a customer stand to lose if they take Amazon up on the $10 offer? Privacy! The worst part isn't Amazon's audacity to ask for customers' biometric data at such a low price. It is that customers don't realize that biometrics can be used to track people permanently, even if they change devices, names, identities, and other personal identifiers.
With present-day targeted advertising, you can dodge the specificity of advertisements by using a different device, or by other methods including not logging in, creating proxy user accounts, etc. However, with biometric authentication, it is possible that customers won't be able to dodge targeted advertisements since biometrics are permanent and unique to each person. An Amazon spokesperson has declined TechCrunch's request for comment.