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Amazon’s palm print recognition raises concern among U.S. senators

WASHINGTON, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Three U.S. Senators, including Democrat Amy Klobuchar, chairwoman of the Antitrust Committee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN.O) to express concern about its handprint recognition system, Klobuchar’s office said Friday.

Amazon began rolling out biometric technology in its Whole Foods stores near Seattle in April so shoppers can pay for items with a scan of their palm. The system called Amazon One enables customers to link a credit card to their handprint. Continue reading

Klobuchar, joined by Senators Bill Cassidy, a Republican, and Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, in Thursday’s letter expressed concerns about privacy and competition related to Amazon One.

“Our concerns about user privacy are compounded by evidence that Amazon shared voice data with third-party vendors and allegations that Amazon violated biometric privacy laws,” the lawmaker wrote in the letter.

“We are also concerned that Amazon could use data from Amazon One, including data from third-party customers who purchase and use Amazon One devices, to further strengthen its competitiveness and stifle competition in various markets,” they wrote.

Legislators asked Amazon about plans to expand Amazon One and to whom they had sold or licensed the technology. They also asked how many people signed up for it, how the data is used, and whether it will ever be paired with facial recognition systems.

Amazon declined to comment, but referred to a blog post dated Jan.

It also says that Amazon One is “very secure”.

“The Amazon One device is protected by several security controls, and Palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device. Instead, the images are encrypted and sent to a highly secure area that we developed specifically for Amazon One in the cloud. ”Blog post said.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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