May 24, 2024

Candy machine secretly scans customers' faces – and customers are pissed

Canada's University of Waterloo has revealed that a defunct snack machine used facial recognition technology without informing its customers. It is recognized by the error message “Invenda.Vending.FacialRecognition.App.exe”. Apparently there is no indication of this or users are asked for permission. “We wouldn't have known without this application error, there was no warning sign here,” said student River Stanley. Canadian broadcaster CTV News.

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Inventa, a Swiss maker of machines, advertises on its website that customers can gain insights into the buying habits of different age and gender groups through “data protection-compliant data”. Switzerland has data protection legislation based on the EU GDPR. According to the GDPR, companies need voluntary, informed and verifiable consent to process sensitive data such as biometric characteristics.

Inventa has an office in Berlin. In 2022 the company announced A sales team should also be created in Germany. Inventa founder John Brzezinski was quoted as saying in a press release that major orders from Mars and other consumer goods companies and strong interest from operators such as gas station chains, hotels and retail companies show that now is the right time to take over Germany. Liberation at that time.

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The case brings back memories of the “Cadillac Fairview” scandal

In Canada, many recall the scandal surrounding the shopping center operator “Cadillac FiveView”. He deployed face-recognition cameras at information terminals in twelve malls. Personal data from five million people ended up in the database. The company had to delete the entire data four years ago.

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The student is River Stanley For MathNews, the university newspaper He confronted Ataria Vending Services, which operated the machine at the site. She told him the machines were used in many places in North America. Facial recognition can't identify individuals, but a motion sensor “so the machine knows when to activate the shopping interface.”

The university said it would remove the Invenda machines “as soon as possible”. Meanwhile, the students covered the camera with chewing gum and paper towels.