Amazon has launched a new age verification method using its palm-scanning technology Amazon One.
The device, which has previously been used for payments at Amazon’s Go stores and some Whole Foods locations, works by scanning the customer’s palm over a scanner, the company said in a Monday blog post.
The new version of the scanner has been rolled out in Coors Field baseball stadium in Colorado before expanding to other establishments. John McKay, director of food service operations and development at the stadium, said:
“Hearing from Amazon One customers across the country, we understand that they love the convenience it delivers: shorter wait times, quick access to buildings and locations, being able to link their loyalty memberships, and now an easy way to grab their beer.”
How Does Amazon’s Palm-Scanning Technology Work?
Users initially need to sign up for age verification through Amazon One, which stores their palm, ID, payment information, and selfie in the company’s database.
When the customer goes to purchase an age-restricted item, such as alcohol, they can hover their hand over the scanner, which will then display their age and identity to the bartender or cashier, along with a message to show that they are above the legal age.
Once the customer’s age has been verified, they can then pay for their items using the scanner.
“We’re solving that customer pain point and improving the guest experience with the launch of a new capability called “age verification,” which enables adult customers ages 21 and over,” the company said in the announcement.
Palm-Scanning Technology Raises Privacy Concerns
Meanwhile, the use of palm-scanning technology has raised some concerns about privacy and security.
Customers must provide a trove of personal information, including a selfie and payment information, which could lead to a breach of privacy.
This is particularly concerning given that Amazon has a track record of violating user privacy.
Back in 2021, the e-commerce giant was fined 746 million euros, $887 million, for violating the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules on how to process personal data.
However, Amazon said that its technology is secure and encrypted, adding that it uses “multi-layered security controls built into the hardware, software, and cloud infrastructure” to ensure the customer’s data stays safe.
Nevertheless, for those who are not comfortable with this level of data sharing, the old-fashioned way of showing an ID would still be preferable.
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