Privacy experts voice concerns over Amazon's palm payment service sign-up app; Here’s why

Concerns regarding Amazon's new palm payment service sign-up app are being voiced by privacy experts. The app, which Amazon just revealed, is to make sign up for Amazon One palm recognition easier.

Published on Mar 29, 2024  |  11:23 AM IST |  24K
(Image Courtesy: Wikimedia commons)
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia commons
Key Highlight
  • Privacy experts raise red flags over Amazon's latest innovation, palm payment service sign-up app
  • Amazon assures users that palm signatures are unique and cannot be replicated for impersonation

Experts in digital privacy are concerned about Amazon's most recent attempt to expedite the sign-up process for its palm recognition service, Amazon One. When the company announced a new app that would let users sign up for Amazon One using their smartphones, some people expressed concern about the risks to their privacy as per Forbes. 

Convenience versus data privacy

The app, which Amazon released on Thursday, attempts to make signing up for Amazon One, a technology that uses palm scans for a number of functions, such as age verification, retail transactions, and access control easier. 

Although the app does away with the requirement that users visit physical locations in order to enroll, it does require them to take pictures of their palms in order to register. 

The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project's founder, Albert Cahn, expressed doubt about the trade-off between user data collection and convenience. He stressed the ease of using more conventional techniques, like showing identification when transacting, and questioned the need to provide government IDs and biometric data to private organizations. 


Historical concerns and tech company track records 

A director at the digital privacy advocacy group Fight for the Future, Evan Greer, echoed these concerns by pointing out how well tech companies have historically protected personal data. Citing previous instances of data breaches and privacy violations, Greer advised against entrusting private corporations with sensitive data. 

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Concerns were not much eased by Amazon's claims that palm signatures are unique and that liveness detection is used to differentiate authentic palms from imitations. The palm identification method was claimed to have significantly higher accuracy and reliability by the company than other biometric techniques such as iris scanning. 

Transparency and user control 

Users can request the deletion of their personal information under the California Consumer Privacy Act and unenroll from Amazon One as part of Amazon's efforts to address privacy concerns. Users can also use data access requests to find out about retained data and delete their Amazon One IDs. 

Critics, however, are still wary because of earlier disputes about how Amazon handles user data. Particularly, after settlements with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for privacy violations totaling over $30 million, the level of scrutiny increased. 

ALSO READ: WWDC 2024: Here’s your guide to what to expect at Apple's Annual Developer Conference

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Know more about Amazon One:

How does Amazon One work?
Amazon One works by capturing and storing a unique palm signature based on the user's palm vein pattern, creases, and friction ridges.

Is Amazon One secure?
Amazon claims that Amazon One is secure, as palm signatures are unique to each individual and difficult to replicate.

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Sakina is a seeker of truth and uncovers hidden perspectives, ensuring her readers are not just informed but

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