Amazon Offers ‘One Palm’ Biometric Reader to Third Parties

After being road-tested in Amazon’s retail outlets, the Amazon One biometric palm reader is being made available as an identification and payment option to third-party businesses. Ticketing company AXS this week introduced Amazon One as an option for contactless entry at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Red Rocks guests can link their AXS Mobile ID with Amazon One at dedicated stations then enter the venue by hovering their hand, touch-free, over a scanner. Once the accounts are linked, Red Rocks ticketholders can quickly enter using a separate line exclusively for Amazon One users. 

The dedicated registration kiosks are located both outside and inside the venue. In a statement announcing the deal, AXS CEO Bryan Perez emphasized the system’s speed and convenience at a time when the industry needs contactless ticketing solutions. Amazon said it plans to add more venue and events clients soon.

The Amazon One biometric scanner was commercially deployed in September 2020 as a COVID-19 accommodation for contactless entry and payment system at brick-and-mortar Amazon Go convenience stores. The company then rolled out the technology at Amazon Go Grocery outlets, Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star locations. A $10 credit was offered to encourage sign-ups.

Much like traditional rewards accounts, the palm swipes are used to collect information about shopping habits then target ads, recommendations and special offers. Amazon says it allows customers to delete the data and will delete it itself if a customer leaves its Amazon One account dormant for two years.

TechCrunch reports that “Amazon’s track record in this area has raised privacy concerns,” citing past “sales of biometric facial recognition services to law enforcement in the U.S.,” that even triggered a data privacy lawsuit. TechCrunch also notes that Amazon “was found to be still storing Alexa voice data even after users deleted their audio files,” but reports that Amazon says the palm print images “are encrypted and sent to a secure area built for Amazon One in the cloud where Amazon creates the customers’ palm signatures.”

Gizmodo reports that “Amazon promises the technology is secure and doesn’t store any information locally,” noting it has not been able to independently verify the claim. Amazon says customers can cancel their Amazon One accounts from a device or at one.amazon.com after outstanding transactions are processed.