Australia’s leading retail chains found using customer facial recognition

Three major Australian retailers, Kmart, Bunnings, and The Good Guys, have been found to be using facial recognition technology for their customers.

Consumer group Choice asked 25 of Australia’s leading retailers if they had biometric information about their customers, as did three national brands with hundreds of stores nationwide. I found out.

Edward Santol, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney and a former Civil Rights Commissioner, said the spread of facial recognition technology is a social concern.

“If the technique is perfectly accurate, it’s not, but even if it is, it takes us into the realm of mass surveillance,” he told Choice. “I think the Australian community is very concerned about going that route.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Mr. Trismezist / Shutterstock)

Choice consumer data advocate Kate Bower warns customers that team members visit stores for research and Kmart and Bunnings set up minimal signs to collect data. He said he discovered that he was there.

“Most of these privacy policies need to be searched online and are not easy to find,” she said. statement.. “But we’re talking about direct retail stores, so it’s possible that no one is reading the privacy policy before entering the store.”

In response to the findings, Bunnings CEO Simon McDowell said measures were taken to combat theft and “anti-social behavior.”

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

“It’s very important for us to do everything we can to prevent bad behavior in our stores. This technology is an important way to help maintain a safe and secure environment for our teams and customers. believe.”

However, Mark Andrey Evic, a professor of media studies at Monash University, said the use of such techniques needed to be clearer.

“The first concern is notice and consent, not a prominent public notice that makes people understand what’s going on,” he told Choice.

“I think another concern is the lack of clear regulations and guidelines on the proper use of technology, which keeps it fairly wide open.

“Currently, the store may be used for security purposes, but in the future it may also include terms of use that it can be used for marketing purposes.”

Daniel Y. Ten


Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national politics, including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and relations between Australia and China. Do you have a hint? Contact him at [email protected].