by Diya Barmecha

For the past few years Amazon has been trying to build a way of palm recognition and they have finally been able to. The world is filled with human body recognition. Most of our body is so unique to us that we can use it as a passcode. From our fingerprints, to our face and our eyes. These all have been used as passcodes. With hacking becoming even more normal, no one trusts passwords put in by keypad. With a good enough time, any hacker can pass through numerous barriers put in place. To prevent that, many companies like amazon, apple and samsung have used recognition softwares as a passcode. 

Last month, Amazon released a new biometric device that will help shoppers pay using only their palm. Amazon One is a palm scanner which allows people to pay at Amazon Go stores with their palms. For convenience they have made it simple to register. You insert your card and hover your palm on the device which then matches your palm signature with the one stored and finalises the payment. For the first time you will require your card but after that your palm can go with you to the store and pay for you. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not an ideal time to put a device that requires a potential touchpoint which is why Amazon One requires you to only hover your hand over the device. 

Amazon has been working on palm recognition because they claim it is “more private than some other means of biometric authentication”. This is because you can’t determine someone’s identity just by looking at the image of their palm”. Amazon also assures the public that the data is secured, however recognisable or recognizable the palm image is. 

Knowing that Amazon has a rough history with biometric products, their Amazon One is being trailed at two Seattle-area stores.  They are aiming for Amazon One to become an alternate way of payment which is efficient and saves time. Their palm identification is based on capturing the vein patterns of the palm, as explained by Dr. Basel Halak who is in the Electronics and Computer Science School at the University of Southampton. However, given its history, having sold facial recognition software to law enforcements in the United States. It has proven to be a subject to a data privacy lawsuit. Having the police using the recognition software has raised some civil rights complaints as well. Furthermore even after this, Amazon hasn’t been very careful. They have continued to store Alexa voice data even when the users deleted audio files. Which is why the Big Brother Watch’s director, Silkie Carlo criticised their product and said that amazon continues to fill the maret with invasive, dystopian technologies that solve non-existent problems. 

However, this project aims to revolutionize the way payments are made. This fast, convent, and contactless way are said to be highly time-efficient and safe. Based on prior problems and judgments, this product may not be able to be as successful as Amazon had hoped. However, it is definitely a new way of looking at payments.

Diya Barmecha is a current 11th-grader who loves to inspire. She loves to read and discover new genres of books. She enjoys reading news articles when they concern her interests. She hopes to find a medium of expression by the Ascent.