Australia investigates Kmart and Bunnings over the use of facial recognition technology


Australia’s leading retailers Bunnings and Kmart are being investigated for the use of facial recognition technology in stores.

Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) ​​office on Tuesday Launch the probe For corporate “personal information handling practices”.

Watchdog has also begun preliminary research with The Good Guys, but consumer electronics retailers announced on June 28 that they have suspended the use of facial recognition technology.

The move is that consumer advocacy group CHOICE gets customer biometric information from only three of Australia’s 25 major retailers, Kmart, Bunnings, and The GoodGuys, which operate hundreds of stores nationwide. After revealing what you are doing.

Kate Bower, a proponent of consumer data at CHOICE, said in a statement that the use of retail giant facial technology is similar to “collecting fingerprints and DNA every time you shop.” ..

Bauer Said before Retailers “mean that this information is disproportionate to over-collection and may violate privacy laws.”

“”[The Privacy Act] The collection of that information should be appropriate for the business purpose for which it is collected and should not be disproportionate to the associated harm. “

Epoch Times Photo
CCTV camera on August 16, 2019 in Pancras Square near Kings Cross Station in London, England. (DanKitwood / Getty Images)

Employee protection or mass monitoring?

Banning’s Chief Operating Officer, Simon McDowell, claimed that the company is implementing facial recognition to prevent theft and antisocial behavior.

“This technology is an important tool for teams and customers to help maintain a safe and secure environment,” he said.

“We inform our customers about the use of CCTV and facial recognition technology through store entrance signs and the privacy policy available on our website.”

According to a CHOICE survey, 83% of consumers believe retailers need to inform customers about the use of face recognition at store entrances, and 78% are concerned about the secure storage of emoticon data. doing.

However, some criticize the use of this technique.

Professor Edward Santol of the University of Technology Sydney, who focuses on the responsible use of technology, said that technology is “fully accurate, and if not, mass surveillance of us. It will take you to the territory. “

“And I think the Australian community has a lot of concerns about going that route,” he told CHOICE.

Meanwhile, Dhakshayini Sooriyakumaran, director of technology policy at Reset Australia, an independent think tank working to combat digital threats, said data-driven decision-making is “the kind that institutions are adopting in all sectors and industries. Philosophy.

“We live in an economy where data is one of the most valuable resources that any institution can actually get,” she told The Epoch Times on June 15.

“The government, like businesses, is flying under radar and trying to extract as much data as possible.”

Nina Nguyen


Nina Nguyen is a Sydney-based reporter. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Contact her at [email protected].