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Did you wake up today and think, “Gee, it doesn’t feel quite dystopian enough in here?” Well, do we have news for you! Thanks to Space Daddy Bezos, you can now submit your palm to be used as payment at your nearest Whole Foods Market through the newly launched Amazon One service.

Assign a human body part to your credit card at Whole Foods. Photo montage: Amazon One/Stillness InMotion/Phil O’Brien

If you’d like to give the NSA an even easier way to track you go conveniently wallet-free at the grocery store, head on over to (where else?!) the Hudson Yards Manhattan West Whole Foods on W33rd Street and 10th Avenue to show your hand/hands.

After you’ve registered your palm by scanning and assigning a human body part your credit card number and ID, you’re free to stroll around, merrily dropping $18 mozzarella into your shopping cart until it’s time to jauntily wave your hand as payment, as if you were a royal who no longer needs to bother with the undignified process of fishing through your wallet for cash. Already piloted at several Seattle and Austin-area Whole Foods stores, the service will be implemented at further New York-based Whole Foods as well as “Amazon Go stores, select Amazon Fresh stores, and several third-party locations around the country.” 

If all of this screams Westworld to you, don’t worry! Amazon has taken a hands-on approach to making sure that your palm is protected from fraud. The company’s press release states, “We understand that how we protect customer data is important for customers — this is very important to us too, and that’s why safeguarding customer privacy is a foundational design principle for Amazon One. The Amazon One device is protected by multiple security controls, and palm images are never stored on the Amazon One device. Rather, the images are encrypted and sent to a highly secure area we custom-built for Amazon One in the cloud where we create your palm signature.”

There you have it!! Amazon is keeping the exact details of your palm in a secret cloud database, just for safekeeping! No big deal! Everything is fine!!! Maybe it’s the internet behemoth’s spotty track record of privacy breaches, the open surveillance of its Alexa devices, or its use of biased facial recognition technology, but the addition of another highly personal tracking system reads to us like data safety death by a thousand paper cuts.

University of Oxford associate professor Reuben Binns told The Verge : “For this kind of use it’s difficult to do anything other than have [that data] in the cloud. Whether that’s a good idea or not is another question.” Binns added that the difference between registering your palm with Amazon and using technology like Apple Face ID lies in the company’s external storage. Data stored in a cloud is not only more accessible to third-parties (like governments) but also to hackers.

Call us tin-hatters, but we’ll stick to overindulging in the prepared foods section with our trusty credit card.

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3 Comments

  1. I hadn’t seen that tinfoil hat routine. I’m with you: no palm reading for me. I don’t even like using plastic cards if I can get away from them.
    It’s cash and carry for me.

  2. Most modern phones can be linked to credit cards and used at checkout to tap and pay, and everyone is always carrying their phone around. Why bother registering a palm scan when you can just tap your phone? This seems like just another data grab.

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