31 Mar 2023 By theguardian
The US bakery and cafe chain Panera will soon allow customers to pay with the swipe of a palm, marking the first restaurant chain to implement the new technology and raising alarm among privacy advocates.
The company announced last week it would roll out biometric readers in coming months that will allow customers to access credit card and loyalty account information by scanning their palms. Called Amazon One, the system was developed by Amazon and is in use at some airports, stadiums and Whole Foods grocery stores.
Panera, which has more than 2,000 locations across the country, is the first nationwide restaurant chain to use the tool. Through the new program, visitors will scan their palms to be greeted by name and receive customized order recommendations based on past preferences. They will also be able to pay with the palm-scanning tech.
Amazon launched its palm-reading technology at Amazon Go locations in late 2020, and is now facing a lawsuit relating to privacy violations after a shopper in New York City claimed customers were not properly notified such data would be collected.
Privacy advocates say this data is at high risk of being hacked and stolen, and, unlike passwords, cannot be changed after it is compromised. Lawmakers have raised these concerns with Amazon One in the past. In 2021, Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Jon Ossoff of Georgia demanded additional information about the program.
Amazon and Panera did not immediately respond to a request for comment.