Lawmakers ask Amazon what it plans to do with palm print biometric data

A bunch of senators despatched new Amazon CEO Andy Jassy a letter Friday urgent the corporate for extra details about the way it scans and shops buyer palm prints to be used in a few of its retail shops.

The corporate rolled out the palm print scanners via a program it calls Amazon One, encouraging individuals to make contactless funds in its brick and mortar shops with out using a card. Amazon introduced its Amazon One scanners late last year, and so they can now be present in Amazon Go comfort and grocery shops, Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star shops throughout the U.S. The scanners are additionally put in in eight Washington state-based Whole Foods locations.

Within the new letter, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Invoice Cassidy (R-LA) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) press Jassy for particulars about how Amazon plans to develop its biometric fee system and if the info collected will assist the corporate goal adverts.

“Amazon’s growth of biometric knowledge assortment via Amazon One raises critical questions on Amazon’s plans for this knowledge and its respect for person privateness, together with about how Amazon could use the info for promoting and monitoring functions,” the senators wrote within the letter, embedded beneath.

The lawmakers additionally requested info on how many individuals have enrolled in Amazon One so far, how Amazon will safe the delicate knowledge and if the corporate has ever paired the palm prints with facial recognition knowledge it collects elsewhere.

“In distinction with biometric programs like Apple’s Face ID and Contact ID or Samsung Cross, which retailer biometric info on a person’s machine, Amazon One reportedly uploads biometric info to the cloud, elevating distinctive safety dangers,” the senators wrote. “… Information safety is especially essential in the case of immutable buyer knowledge, like palm prints.”

The corporate controversially launched a $10 credit for new users who enroll their palm prints in this system, prompting an outcry from privateness advocates who see it as an inexpensive tactic to coerce individuals handy over delicate private knowledge.

There’s loads of cause to be skeptical. Amazon has confronted fierce criticism for its different large biometric knowledge mission, the AI facial recognition software known as Rekognition, which the corporate supplied to U.S. regulation enforcement businesses earlier than finally backtracking with a moratorium on policing applications for the software program final yr.

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