Lawmakers ask Amazon what it plans to do with palm print biometric data � TechCrunch

Senators wrote Andy Jassy, the new CEO of Amazon, Friday asking for details about how Amazon scans and stores palm prints of customers for use in its stores. Amazon One is a program that encourages people to use contactless payments in brick and mortar stores. The palm print scanners were introduced by the company. Amazon One scanners were introduced late last year. They can be found in Amazon Go convenience stores, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star stores and Amazon Books across the U.S. The scanners can also be found in eight Whole Foods stores located in Washington. In a new letter, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Bill Cassidy (R–LA), and Jon Ossoff(D-GA) press Jassy to get more information about Amazon's plans for expanding its biometric payment system. Also, they want to know if the data will be used to help target advertisements. Amazons expansion into biometric data collection via Amazon One raises serious concerns about Amazons plans for the data and its respect of user privacy, the senators wrote in the enclosed letter. They also wanted to know how many people have signed up for Amazon One so far, what Amazon's security measures are in place and whether Amazon has ever paired palm prints with facial recognition data from other sources. The senators noted that Amazon One uploads biometric data to the cloud in contrast to biometric systems such as Apples Face ID, Touch ID, or Samsung Pass which store the user's device biometrics. This raises unique security risks. Particularly important is data security when it comes to customer data that cannot be changed, such as palm prints. Privacy advocates were outraged when the company introduced a $10 credit to new users who register their palm prints to the program. This led to an outcry from privacy activists who saw it as a cheap tactic for coercing people to give up sensitive personal information. There are many reasons to be skeptical. Amazon's other major biometric data project, Rekognition (AI facial recognition software), has been criticized harshly by the U.S. authorities. The company then reversed course and placed a moratorium last year on any policing applications.