This is because palm scanning is an optional method of payment, meaning that you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to, but like we said, Amazon seems to really want people to start using it. So much so that the company has announced that they will be paying customers $10 if they were to enroll their palm prints at its stores and link it to their Amazon account.
That being said, while we can recognize the potential of palm scanning to facilitate payments in a more efficient and hygienic manner, one has to question what Amazon plans to do with your biometric data. It is clear that this data can be used to track your shopping habits, which in turn might be used for targeted advertising. Amazon claims that your palm prints are stored indefinitely, unless you opt to delete the data or if you don’t use it for two years.
Speaking to TechCrunch in an email, Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the New York-based Surveillance Technology Oversight Project was critical of Amazon’s efforts. “Biometric data is one of the only ways that companies and governments can track us permanently. You can change your name, you can change your Social Security number, but you can’t change your palm print. The more we normalize these tactics, the harder they will be to escape. If we don’t [draw a] line in the sand here, I am very fearful what our future will look like.”