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Pay by palm technology raises security worries

News that Amazon in trialling palm-scanning technology at one of its Whole Food stores in Seattle is raising privacy concerns, due to the fact that the technology Amazon is using links a customer’s palm signature with their credit details.

The contactless payment method, known as Amazon One, involves customers enrolling their palms in Amazon’s system to make payments with a palm ‘signature’ which is linked to their credit cards.

The technology works by analysing the bones, creases and other structures beneath the user’s palm, and payments can be made by simply holding their hand over a reader device.

The push towards contactless has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic but this biometric technology has been criticised because it stores the users ‘signature’ in a data cloud, which some have warned could be exposed to hackers.

It’s that link which is raising concerns because if biometric data is compromised, unlike a credit card, it can’t be changed.

Amazon has said that it’s keen to roll the technology out beyond its stores to third parties and, for some, this is a pivotal moment for biometric technology which makes the security aspect even more important to get right.

Neil Tyler

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