Amazon faces lawsuit over alleged biometric tracking

Monday 20 March 2023 12:20 CET | News

US-based multinational technology company Amazon has faced a lawsuit over alleged biometric tracking on the Go stores based in New York City.

The proposed class-action lawsuit accused Amazon of failing to let customers know that in its Go stores their biometric data will be collected. The claimed regulation was based on a law that took effect in New York back in 2021, which required all businesses and companies to post conspicuous signs to inform their clients if they collect any biometrics from them. Those include palm scans, iris or retina scans, fingerprints, and facial scans. 

The Go stores provided by Amazon offer shoppers the possibility to take what product the market has on its shelves and walk out without the need to check out. In order for this to happen, users need to enter the store by scanning a code from the Amazon application that is connected to a credit card. 

Some locations also have Amazon One, a palm-based identity and payment service that acts as an entry option. According to the complaint, the business did not inform customers about biometric tracking activities correctly. The signs mentioned that Amazon will not collect clients’ data unless they choose to use their Amazon One account, while the organisation allegedly did collect not only information on every customer but also data on the size and shape of their body. 

By applying computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning algorithms, the company scans the body of clients in order to identify them, track where they move in the stores, and determine what they had purchased. The lawsuit mentions that Amazon only put up the necessary signs about its tracking activities a lot later after the legislation was released in the US. 

Officials of Amazon offered a statement to NBC News where they mentioned that the company does not use facial recognition, and that any system which is used to identify shoppers in the Go Stores does not constitute biometric technologies. They also mentioned that only customers that use Amazon One have to hover their palm in order to identify themselves, as a part of the enrolment process. 

The outcome of the lawsuit depends on multiple things, such as whether the court discovers users’ body shapes and sizes collected as biometric information.

US-based multinational technology company Amazon has faced a lawsuit over alleged biometric tracking on the Go stores based in New York City.

Amazon’s partnerships

Amazon had multiple partnerships lately, covering several industries and geographies. 

At the beginning of March 2023, the company integrated its Just Walk Out technology into the Transact Campus’s payment solutions, in order to augment payments for vendors on and off college campuses. 

Both businesses were set to deploy stores powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology across numerous campuses. The markets included Transact’s card system for payments, mobile ordering application for store entry, as well as Cloud POS for product catalogues, reporting, and inventory. 

In February of 2023, African mobile money application M-PESA collaborated with Amazon for tackling the global remittances market’s multi-trillion dollar surge. 

By signing the deal with Amazon, the fintech aimed to expand its business across Europe and to benefit from backup support from businesses such as Vodacom, Vodafone, and Safaricom’s global shareholders in order to grow in the market. 

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Keywords: regulation, compliance, biometrics, biometric authentication, digital verification, identity verification
Categories: Fraud & Financial Crime
Companies: Amazon
Countries: United States
This article is part of category

Fraud & Financial Crime


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