In Australia Kmart, Bunnings and The Good Guys have been reported by CHOICE, a consumer awareness magazine, to be using facial recognition.
Choice says the three companies are recording “face prints”, an image of your face that measures different points like the distance between eyes, nose, mouth or chin, so your image can be reliably recognised.
Choice checked the policies and the responses of 25 leading Australian retailers and Kmart, Bunnings and The Good Guys appear to be the only three that are capturing the biometric data of their customers.
Choice reported shoppers are asked to agree to privacy policies which are usually published online and hard to find.
Do we have facial recognition in Broken Hill?
Kmart in Broken Hill does not have facial recognition.
An employee said the software is being trialled in other states but is not in use in New South Wales.
Adelaide City Council is one of the first to ban facial recognition software on their security cameras.
An Adelaide Council representative said they wanted to ban it as there are no state laws in place to monitor its use.
They also said the cost of the software and hardware is prohibitively expensive.
In China, facial recognition is used to monitor the population and is reported to be used to ascertain your level of positive social behaviour and the results can affect your choices in life.
What do Australians think about facial recognition being used?
Between March and April 2022, CHOICE canvassed more than 1000 Australians in a nationally representative survey to gauge consumer awareness of facial recognition technology.
The CHOICE results indicate that most people are in the dark.
More than 76 per cent of respondents said they didn’t know retailers were using facial recognition.
83 per cent of CHOICE survey respondents say retail stores should be required to inform customers about the use of facial recognition before they enter the store and 78 per cent expressed concern about the secure storage of faceprint data.
Some survey respondents describe facial recognition technology as “creepy and invasive”.
Others say they consider it “unnecessary and dangerous” and wouldn’t want to enter a store that’s using it.