Panera Bread has said it intends to use palm scanners to link customers’ handprints to their loyalty accounts.
The biometric technology, developed by Amazon, will be implemented in the coming months, allowing employees to greet customers by name and offer personalized menu suggestions based on their order histories. Panera’s loyalty program, which currently has 52 million members, will be “frictionless, personalized, and convenient,” according to the company.
Panera Bread has already installed the scanners at its headquarters in St. Louis, and plans to expand to additional locations in the coming months. It is currently unknown how many of the chain’s over 2,000 locations will be impacted.
While Panera Bread has portrayed the new technology as a convenience, privacy advocates have expressed concerns about the move. Digital rights activists are concerned that the scanners’ biometric data could be accessed by hackers or tapped by federal agencies. A digital rights advocacy group, Fight for the Future, warned that federal agencies have previously been subjected to devastating hacks in which large databases of biometric information were stolen.
Panera assured customers that the biometric data collected by the scanners would be stored securely, but the implementation of this new technology has raised concerns about data privacy and security.
The sources for this piece include an article in CBSNews.