Amazon Trials at Hand


In a progressive step for the online retail giant, Amazon has presented a new and improved contactless payment service currently being trialled is US Amazon Go stores.

Amazon One

The new biometric scanner is the hope to streamline contactless payment security as well as physical access for consumers. Labelled as Amazon One, the device scans the palm of the user whilst held above the device to identify vein patterns to match pre-stored biometric details.

Credit card details of the user will be required to be inputted to register, enabling the device to be able to link to their biometric palm image. The decision to start trialling the device in select stores includes adding the device to the store entry gate as a convenience for customers for gaining entry to the shop.

Amazon One would become an alternative payment option or loyalty card for customers with devices implanted by checkout services and POS systems as well as a device to streamline the entering of potential workplaces or stadiums, enabling a quicker and easier system of entry as well as added security.

The Doubt

With every technological advancement comes its share of concerns, specifically when it comes to identity and potential misuse.

This device has raised concern from many security and privacy experts in their fields, with Kapersky Lab being among the first to raise concerns that the combination of identification, authentication and authorization will not be secure on top of the biometric and payment data, leaving consumers potentially vulnerable to data theft. This will require the highest levels of security to be undertaken by Amazon, a company already under fire for Covid-19 jeopardy within the workplace.

When identification and authentication are separated, such as biometric and PIN are separately used to identify a customer, the theft of biometric data alone would not provide complete information to be able to steal from the customer. Amazon one presents a platform for any hacker to gain everything they need in one tidy package.

It has been recommended that the safer option is to keep biometric data to identify separate from such things as a PIN to authenticate. This is a key component in how to protect data online.

Planned Roll out

Meanwhile , other parties have labelled Amazon’s effort as a way to fill the marketplace with invasive technologies that solve non-existent problems. With fraudsters choosing to replace face to face transactions in favor of the more lucrative online possibilities down to the pandemic, losses within contactless fraud have fell 20% year on year in 2020 to the tune of £8.2 million.

With Amazon hoping to roll out the new device with potential customers, shops and stores in the future, will the paying public feel comfortable in providing biometric data for the purpose of purchasing goods or services? The debate over Amazon’s normalization of biometric payment and home surveillance devices is stepping close to a line of easily tracking and recording citizen lifestyles, which will no doubt have an inevitable effect of disempowerment.

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