Amazon is bringing its palm-scanning technology to even more Whole Foods stores. By the end of this year, Amazon says you’ll be able to pay for your purchase using just the palm of your hand at the over 500 Whole Foods locations it has throughout the US.
The palm-scanning tech is part of Amazon One, a service that lets you link your Amazon account and payment information to your palm print. Once your palm print is in Amazon’s system, you can hover your palm over an Amazon One scanner, and it will charge the payment method that’s tied to your Amazon account.
Amazon One isn’t just a contactless payment method, however — it’s also an identification service. The company has deployed the technology in sports stadiums, raceways, and casinos, enabling venues to use palm scans as a way to verify guests’ ages when purchasing age-restricted items, like alcohol.
Although Amazon says palm scanning is “considered more private” than other forms of biometric identification, it has still raised some concerns. For one, Amazon will store your palm signature — which Amazon uses the unique ridges and lines throughout your palm to create — in the cloud instead of locally on a device like Apple’s Face ID technology does. As my colleague James Vincent notes, that’s kind of a big tradeoff just to get a more convenient way to shop or verify your age.
Last year, Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater stopped using Amazon One tech after advocates and artists expressed concerns about data collection and surveillance. It also doesn’t help that Amazon has received scrutiny over its handling of user data in the past. The company is currently facing a class action lawsuit that accuses its Amazon Go stores of tracking New York customers’ body shapes, sizes, and palm prints without their knowledge.