DEDHAM, Mass. — Amazon’s palm payment technology is now available at all 32 Massachusetts Whole Foods locations, a company spokesperson said Thursday.
Amazon One — the retail giant’s futuristic palm recognition service for identification and payment — reached more than three million uses back in the summer and is being added to more locations across the country, including Panera Bread restaurants and sports venues like Coors Field in Denver.
According to the company, it’s easy to use and is a fast and secure way to pay for groceries. Caleb Barlow, a cyber security consultant on the North Shore, said more and more companies are using biometrics as a way to identify and protect consumers.
“I think the risk of someone getting ahold of your palm print and committing fraud is very low,” Barlow said. “If you’re using your handprint to check out for groceries, great. That’s super convenient and the risk of fraud is really, really low. On the other hand, if this was a bank that said, ‘We want your handprint to access your brokerage and checking accounts,’ I’d be very concerned.”
Dedham shopper Corynne Recco said for now, she feels more comfortable using her credit or debit card to buy groceries.
“I feel like a card is easy enough. I feel like your hand prints really personal, more personal than a card,” Recco said.
An Amazon spokesperson provided Boston 25 with this blog and information about Amazon One from its website:
With Amazon One, the customer is always in control
With palm recognition, you decide when and where to use it. When we started designing Amazon One, we had many biometric options—voice, fingerprint, retina, and more—and we chose palm for a few important reasons:
1. It’s intentional. Your palm images are never captured passively. This means you need to make an active, intentional gesture of hovering your palm over the Amazon One device to be identified. Amazon One puts customers in control.
2. It’s gender and race agnostic. Amazon One operates beyond the normal light spectrum and cannot accurately perceive sex or skin tone, and it does not detect your gender or race.
3. It’s highly accurate. Amazon One is 100 times more accurate than scanning two irises. It raises the bar for biometric identification by combining palm and vein imagery, and after millions of interactions among hundreds of thousands of enrolled identities, we have not had a single false positive. We continue to invest in research to ensure accuracy and improve the service for our customers.
Emerging technologies are often met with apprehension, and we’ve heard some people say, “If I lose my credit card, I can get a new one. But if someone steals my palm image, I cannot change my palm.” Let me put this concern to rest.
Unlike a credit card or password, your Amazon One palm signature can’t be replicated to impersonate you. Amazon One does not use raw palm images to identify a person. Instead, it looks at both palm and underlying vein structure to create a unique numerical, vector representation—called a palm signature—for identity matching.
Additionally, to prevent bad actors from trying to spoof the system, we included an extra layer of security: liveness detection. This capability allows Amazon One to recognize the difference between a real live palm and a replica. We even tested Amazon One with more than 1,000 silicone and 3D printed palms, and Amazon One rejected those attempts.
While most people are comfortable saving biometric data on their personal devices, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud protects sensitive customer data by offering several enhanced security capabilities not available on your phone. AWS is backed by more than 300 cloud security tools and 100,000 security partners from around the world.
Millions of customers, including the most security-sensitive organizations like governments, health care facilities, and financial services, have built services on our highly secure cloud. Amazon One leverages the enterprise-level security capabilities of AWS, along with multi-layered security controls built into the hardware, software, and cloud infrastructure to ensure that customer data stays encrypted and secure.
Protecting palm data:
We do not share your palm data with government agencies or advertisers
Amazon One will never share palm data with third parties, under any circumstance, including in response to government demands, unless we’re required to comply with a legally valid and binding order. Additionally, Amazon One is not interoperable with data provided by other sources. This is because Amazon One uses a proprietary combination of palm and vein imagery to recognize customers, making it unusable to third parties and unmatchable with data from other sources.
Further, Amazon One palm data is not used by Amazon for marketing purposes, and will not be bought by or sold to other companies for advertising, marketing, or any other reason. In fact, when you use Amazon One at third-party locations, Amazon doesn’t track what you do or buy after entering the location. That data is not associated with your biometric identity, and we built Amazon One that way intentionally.
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