Amazon is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging that it monitors Amazon Go customers in its New York City location with biometric recognition technology without their knowing, per NBC New York.
According to the lawsuit, Amazon violated a New York City law that came into effect in 2021, which mandates that businesses post signs informing customers that their biometric information is being tracked. The New York biometric law applies to commercial establishments, including retail stores, restaurants, and bars.
Amazon Go stores are cashierless convenience stores, where customers with an Amazon account can shop without going through a traditional checkout process. While in-store, consumers open the Amazon Shopping app and scan the store QR code. They can then shop around, taking whatever they may need, and simply walk out of the store. Amazon’s technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves, in addition to tracking a customer’s virtual cart and checking them out via the linked Amazon account when a customer leaves the store.
Consumers can elect to sign up for Amazon One, a proprietary biometric ID app, which is an alternate to logging in via the Amazon shopping app. With Amazon One, customers can link a scan of their palm to their Amazon accounts. By scanning their palm upon entry at an Amazon Go store, consumers can checkout without a phone or credit card.
The Future of Biometrics
Biometric technology is a growing trend in the payments space, as it offers enhanced security and convenience. Biometric authentication, such as fingerprints and facial recognition, provides a higher level of security compared to traditional passwords and PINs. It also eliminates the need to remember passwords or carry cards, making transactions more convenient for customers.
In recent years, more companies have been integrating biometrics into their payments systems. For example, Apple Pay uses facial recognition and Touch ID for authentication. Mastercard has developed biometric cards that use fingerprint sensors to authorize payments. Visa has also developed a biometric card that uses fingerprint sensors.
However, the use of biometric technology in payments is not without controversy. The use of biometric information raises privacy concerns, as it involves collecting personal data that can be used to identify individuals. There are also concerns about the security of biometric data, which, if compromised, could be used to commit fraud or identity theft.
That said, biometric identification is inherently more secure than using passwords, and is likely to become mainstream over time.