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Amazon’s new palm-recognition biometric device lets you pay without touching

Jeff Bezos wants to read your palm.

As the coronavirus pandemic pushes more retailers to consider contactless payment options, Amazon is hoping to deliver more of what they want with its new Amazon One. The biometric device, which Amazon announced this morning, utilizes palm-recognition technology to identify customers, match them with their credit card, and allow them to purchase items with the simple wave of their hand.

According to Amazon, the device is being piloted at two Amazon Go stores in Seattle, with more stores planned in the coming months. The hope is that retailers and other companies beyond Amazon will ultimately adopt the technology to use in their own stores, Amazon says. In addition to payments, the device can be used for things like “presenting a loyalty card, entering a location like a stadium, or badging into work.”

Amazon says it chose palm recognition because it is considered less invasive than “some biometric alternatives,” presumably face recognition, which has received much criticism over its privacy implications and algorithmic biases that can negatively impact people who aren’t white and male. “Ultimately, using a palm as a biometric identifier puts customers in control of when and where they use the service,” Amazon said in a blog post.

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