Panera Bread will use palm-scanning technology for its loyalty program

Panera Bread is rolling out palm scanners that will link customers’ handprints to their loyalty accounts — a move the company paints but privacy advocates have rejected.

Biometric collection technology developed by Amazon will hit stores in the next few months, Panera said said on Wednesday. The company said the gadgets will help recommend menu items based on customers’ order history and allow employees to greet customers by name and share available customer rewards.

Panera Bread CEO Niran Chaudhary described the move as a “frictionless, personalized and convenient” evolution of Panera’s loyalty program, which has 52 million members.

The fast-casual chain has already installed the scanners at locations in St. Louis, where it is headquartered, and says the scanners will “expand to additional locations in the coming months,” though it’s unclear if the chain How many of the more than 2,000 locations? will be affected. Reuters reported that Amazon One technology is in use in about 200 places Nationwide, including Amazon’s Whole Foods Market subsidiary and Amazon Go stores.

Panera says the technology will securely store its customers’ biometric data. However, digital rights activists worry that the information could be tapped by federal agencies or accessed by hackers.

“Federal agencies such as Customs and Border Protection have experienced catastrophic hacks where large databases of biometric information have been stolen,” Fight for the Future told CBS MoneyWatch in an email. “Do we really expect better cybersecurity practices from Amazon, or Panera?”

Panera and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Amazon began using biometric collection technology at its Amazon Go locations in late 2020, but the payments system has raised some eyebrows and alarms. In 2021, a group of US senators sent one. Letter Amazon’s CEO was asked for details on how the company plans to use customer data and whether it will continue to develop its own biometric information.

Amazon also has tracking practices. The root of a case Filed earlier this month. The lawsuit alleges that the e-commerce company violated New York City data privacy laws by failing to disclose to shoppers that it was collecting their biometric information.

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