Amazon One means you may not need a credit card or even a smartphone to pay for what you buy.
New Amazon technology, introduced at two Amazon Go stores this week, lets shoppers pay for purchases by holding their hands over a scanner. The system, called Amazon One, may herald a new way of identifying yourself and paying for things that could change the way people shop, enter concerts, use public transportation, and many other things.
You’ve probably used a fingerprint scanner or facial recognition to unlock your smartphone. You already know that your voice and your retinas can be used to positively identify you and give you access to your various devices, and possibly to secure government or corporate facilities. Amazon’s new Amazon One technology takes biometrics a step further by allowing shoppers to pay for purchases with a simple scan of their palms.
To stave off privacy concerns, the company says it is encrypting biometric data before storing it in the cloud, and that the data will be deleted from the cloud at the customer’s request. An Amazon executive told GeekWire that the company had deliberately chosen users’ palms as a biometric identifier because people can’t be recognized from their palms the way they can from their faces. (Amazon has faced controversy over law enforcement use of its facial scanning technology and has suspended such use for one year.) Another benefit is that the user must choose to hover his or her hand over the scanner, meaning that users can’t be scanned without their knowledge or consent.