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TechCrunch has a story about how Amazon, which introduced biometric palm scanners called Amazon One last year to various retail stores, now is offering a $10 promotional credit to persuade shoppers to share their palm prints.

According to the story, "The retail and cloud giant says its palm scanning hardware 'captures the minute characteristics of your palm - both surface-area details like lines and ridges as well as subcutaneous features such as vein patterns - to create your palm signature,' which is then stored in the cloud and used to confirm your identity when you’re in one of its stores.

"What’s Amazon doing with this data exactly? Your palm print on its own might not do much — though Amazon says it uses an unspecified 'subset' of anonymous palm data to improve the technology. But by linking it to your Amazon account, Amazon can use the data it collects, like shopping history, to target ads, offers and recommendations to you over time … While the idea of contactlessly scanning your palm print to pay for goods during a pandemic might seem like a novel idea, it’s one to be met with caution and skepticism given Amazon’s past efforts in developing biometric technology. Amazon’s controversial facial recognition technology, which it historically sold to police and law enforcement, was the subject of lawsuits that allege the company violated state laws that bar the use of personal biometric data without permission."

TechCrunch writes that  Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the New York-based Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, had the following observation about the technology:

"“The dystopian future of science fiction is now. It’s horrifying that Amazon is asking people to sell their bodies, but it’s even worse that people are doing it for such a low price … Biometric data is one of the only ways that companies and governments can track us permanently. You can change your name, you can change your Social Security number, but you can’t change your palm print. The more we normalize these tactics, the harder they will be to escape. If we don’t [draw a] line in the sand here, I am very fearful what our future will look like."

The story notes that the palm scanners are being in used in a number of Amazon's physical formats in places that range from Washington State, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Texas.

KC's View:

This is sort of a new twist on the saying, "If you are not paying for the product, you are the product."

In this case, you're being paid to be the product … and not a whole helluva lot, either.

I must admit to being a little conflicted about this.  I'm susceptible to the "dystopian-future-of-science-fiction-is-now" argument;  I've watched way too much science fiction over the years, and am halfway sure that there is a real-life Skynet out there somewhere that will result in the demise of the human race.

But, I also use Clear to get through airports quickly, and probably would use Amazon One if it were available to me.  So, does that mean I am willing to enable to ultimate destruction of the human race if it means that my life will be a little more convenient in the short term?

Yeah.  Probably.