Amazon Wants You To Give Them Your Palm Print For A $10 Credit
On today's installment of Amazon definitely not acting like an evil conglomerate from a dystopian '80s sci-fi flick, the e-commerce giant is now asking customers to give them a copy of their palm print for the highly-coveted prize of … $10? Yep, in a move that may make former President Donald Trump question if NAFTA is actually the "worst trade deal ever made," the e-commerce giant has offered us a very, erm, modest proposal – hand over (pun intended) our biometric data to its palm-print-based payment system, Amazon One, in exchange for a $10 credit.
Launched last fall, Amazon One allows customers to use their palm prints as a “fast, convenient, contactless way for people to use their palm to enter, identify, and pay," per The Verge. The company's system, which the tech organization says “thousands” have enrolled in, is in use at 50 locations of Amazon-owned brick-and-mortar stores around the country, ranging from Amazon Go shops to Whole Foods supermarkets.
Yet as most anyone would be when it comes to tech giants monetarily incentivizing patrons to give them their highly-personal physical data, some experts have concerns about what, exactly the broader implications of this program could be.
“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,” Albert Fox Chan, who serves as the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project's executive director told TechCrunch. “Biometric data is one of the only ways that companies and governments can track us permanently. You can change your name, you can change your Social Security number, but you can’t change your palm print. The more we normalize these tactics, the harder they will be to escape. If we don’t [draw a] line in the sand here, I am very fearful what our future will look like,” he continued.
The inability to change one's palm prints (at least for those without a terrifyingly high pain tolerance) was also a concern for Reuben Binn, a security researcher who broke down the pros and cons of Amazon One's services to The Verge last fall. “The advantage [of your palm print] is that it’s on you all the time, this isn’t something you can lose, but that’s also a disadvantage because you can never change it,” he explained. "You can never change your palm like you change your password or other identification tokens.”
So folks, if you ever wondered just how much companies value your biological information, it seems the answer comes in the form of a crisp $10 bill. Oof.
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