Amazon’s New Payment System Will Apparently Use Your Hands As ID

Posted on September 4, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Amazon with 6 Comments

Amazon is reportedly working on a new payment system. A new report from the New York Post revealed Amazon’s plans for its new payment system, codenamed Orville.

The new payment system reportedly uses your hand as ID. The system will use computer vision and depth geometry to identify the shape and size of each hand and use it to identify your account. The biometric tech will be installed at Amazon’s Whole Foods supermarkets across the United States by early 2020.

The idea here is that when you are about to check-out, you can simply scan your hand, and Amazon will automatically charge your credit card it has on record, without you needing you to get your phone or credit card out. The system is apparently accurate to within one ten-thousandth of 1%, although Amazon engineers are apparently “scrambling” to improve that to a millionth of 1%. Amazon’s new system can apparently process a payment in less than 300 milliseconds, which is stupendously fast.

Amazon plans to start installing the new tech at Whole Foods stores by the beginning of 2020, and it’s expected to expand to all US locations eventually. The speed of rollout, however, could be affected by how long it takes to get the new systems installed and to train employees at stores.

But whether people actually want to use their hands to identify themselves remains the big question. Companies like Amazon and Facebook already have a ton of data on you, so do you really want to let them analyze your hand geometry data, too?

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Amazon’s New Payment System Will Apparently Use Your Hands As ID”

  1. terry jones

    I've found that I'm using cash more and more these days. I'm no Luddite, but a lot of this tech is starting to give me pause.

    I think we need to step back a bit until we can get a better handle on these companies, and demand to know exactly what they are doing with all this data.

    It's pretty obvious they aren't doing much to safeguard it.

  2. mattbg

    I'd use it if they called the palm-reading device "Gypsy". Otherwise, I just hope they keep it clean and degreased! At least with phone-based payments you are keeping yourself to yourself :)

  3. Chris_Kez

    The original story noted that the user does not actually have to touch anything to be scanned. But I’d be hesitant to give biometric data for use like this. I’m no security expert but I imagine they’d be storing your hand scan in the cloud and then comparing a local scan every time you check out. That seems less secure than biometrics on a phone where your individual device has a secure enclave for that data and it does the confirmation locally, then just provides an authentication token or shares payment data or whatever. The phone manufacturer and the retailer never actually see your biometric data.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      Also, at least in Europe, walking past a scanner is not consent to complete a financial transaction. You can't passively pay, you need to do something active, like finger pressed on a sensor, entering a PIN or signing.

  4. wosully

    "Amazon’s new system can apparently process a payment in less than 300 milliseconds..."

    Meh, I don't have that much time to wait for my groceries to be checked out, frankly.