US Retailers Want In Store Facial Recognition Without Consent
Samuel Wan / 2 years ago
Nine privacy advocates have abandoned a government organized forum around industry best practices for facial recognition. This comes after more than a year of talks, as corporations dug in, refusing to ask consumers for permission before using facial recognition on them. According to the privacy advocates, not one single corporation agreed to the premise that they should ask permission before attempting to identify unknown persons.
Given that Google and Microsoft, both currently with opt-in facial recognition programs were part of the talks, it points to a very worrying trend within corporations. The default of scanning with facial recognition before asking runs counter to several state laws as well as European ones.
Proponents for the industry position point to some benefits coming from facial recognition without asking. One common cited example is that by scanning everyone, shoplifters, wanted persons, missing persons and lost children can all be found using the system. Asking for permission would either fail or be impossible in some cases as well. Facial recognition can also be used to offer personalized service and advertisements. Critics say that allowing corporations to scan without asking violates privacy. The data captured would also likely be stored online in a database to be useful, making those servers a likely treasure trove for criminal hackers. Outside facing cameras may also track persons with no relation to the store as well.
It looks like trying to get industry to self-regulate was doomed from the start. Casinos are currently one of the places where facial recognition is widely used. If facial recognition without asking for permissions becomes widespread, it will be interesting if consumers will take any steps to protect their privacy or change their shopping habits. At least we haven’t gotten to the point of Minority Report eyeball scanning just yet.