March 2, 2024

In the UK, customers are scanned in real time when they shop

For the purpose of crime prevention, every customer entering a store in the UK can be biometrically scanned – completely legally

In Great Britain, security company Facewatch is equipping a large number of stores such as supermarkets and sports stores with facial recognition software. The company markets its system under the slogan “Reduce Shoplifting, Create a Safe Environment” and promotes it as a preventive measure to prevent shoplifting.

After a four-year review of Facewatch, the British review came Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has now come to the conclusion that no regulatory measures are required and that the software can therefore be used completely legally.

Spar and Sportsdirect are among the clients

On their website there Watch face Spar and Sportsdirect were mentioned as being among the company’s clients in Great Britain. Customers can now be legally checked during a quick trip to the supermarket. Video cameras installed in stores photograph faces, record them, process them, and compare them to one or more databases using Facewatch software. These in turn aim to identify shoplifters or those suspected of doing so and raise the alarm in such a situation.

Artificial intelligence makes facial recognition a bargain

The costs of facial recognition have decreased significantly, especially due to the boom in artificial intelligence-based applications, which is fueling the spread of corresponding software. According to comprehensive a report According to the New York Times, companies can buy access to a list containing biometric data of potentially suspicious people for as little as £250 a month through Facewatch’s subscription model. If the software recognizes a face, it will contact the store and can take action itself.

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The problem with this is that software like the one produced by Facewatch can’t live up to its reliability, because the technology is anything but bug-free. Especially when used under the guise of crime prevention, a single software error can quickly lead to massive personal consequences Consequences for individuals to have. In the British city of Bristol, for example, a woman was kicked out of a store because the system identified her as suspicious. About a year ago, she ended up on the list due to an incident involving €20, which is why she is now considered suspicious. Firstly, it is unclear whether this actually happened, and secondly, the woman was not informed that her data was being stored.

Austrian police also use facial recognition technology

Such type of facial recognition is not yet legal in Austria. But since 2019, this amount has reached the local police “Compare digital images” Customized facial recognition software is being used to fight crime. During the introduction, discussions repeatedly arose about the limitations and transparency of the application.