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U.S. Senators call for transparency over how Amazon is storing customers' palm print information

Amazon One gives customers the option to pay with their palms in some stores. U.S. Senators want more information on how customers' palm prints are stored.
Credit: David Ryder
A woman walks past the Amazon Go grocery store at the Amazon corporate headquarters on June 16, 2017 in Seattle. (Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images)

SEATTLE — Three U.S. Senators sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy asking the company to be more transparent about how customers' palm print information is stored, citing privacy concerns. 

Some Amazon Go, Whole Foods, and other Amazon stores are offering new technology called Amazon One, allowing customers to pay with their palm at the register. Customers can scan the palm of their hand and link their biometric data to a credit card or Amazon account. 

Amazon One technology creates a "palm signature" for each user based on the most distinct identifiers of their palm, according to the company, which is then stored in a "highly secure area" in the Amazon cloud. 

The letter, signed by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Ill.) and Senator Jon Ossof (D-Ga.), outlined concerns over what Amazon will do with customers' data in addition to concerns over what would happen in the event of a hack or a data breach.

"Amazon’s expansion of biometric data collection through Amazon One raises serious questions about Amazon’s plans for this data and its respect for user privacy, including about how Amazon may use the data for advertising and tracking purposes," the letter reads. 

The senators wrote their concerns were heightened over evidence that Amazon shared voice recordings from Alexa users with a third party to evaluate how the system responds to commands. 

Klobuchar, Cassidy and Ossoff asked that the company respond to a list of questions by Aug. 26, 2021, including how Amazon plans to expand Amazon One use, how Amazon plans to use Amazon One data and how Amazon has ensured the security of consumers' biometric information. 

Amazon declined a request for comment.