Bunnings and Kmart under investigation over information handling linked to facial recognition technology

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Australian retail giants Bunnings and Kmart are being investigated in excess of their use of facial recognition technological innovation in merchants, amid privateness problems.

The Workplace of the Australian Data Commissioner [OAIC] has confirmed it has introduced an investigation following it was disclosed the suppliers were applying the technologies without the information of customers.

The investigation followed a report from buyer advocacy team Alternative about the retailers’ use of facial recognition technological innovation.

The OAIC is also working with electrical and white merchandise retailer Very good Fellas subsequent reports it paused its use of the technologies.

Alternative investigated 25 of “Australia’s most-trusted merchants”, and identified Kmart, Bunnings and Superior Guys were “capturing the biometric information of their buyers”.

Composite photo with a large shopfront featuring a red Kmart sign on the left. On the right: sign with small black text
Selection said many consumers were being unaware that facial recognition know-how was currently being used in some retailers.(Supplied: Alternative)

Decision client facts advocate Kate Bower called the use of facial recognition by the suppliers “fully inappropriate and unnecessary.”

“Employing facial recognition technology in this way is comparable to Kmart, Bunnings or The Fantastic Men gathering your fingerprints or DNA just about every time you store,” she claimed. 

Bunnings’ chief functioning officer, Simon McDowell, told Decision the technologies was utilized to “establish individuals of interest who have formerly been concerned in incidents of worry in our retailers”.

“This technologies is an essential measure that can help us to preserve a harmless and safe atmosphere for our crew and shoppers,” he said.

“We permit prospects know about our use of CCTV and facial recognition technologies as a result of signage at our retail outlet entrances and also in our privateness plan, which is available on our web site.”

Respondents to CHOICE’s study explained the tech as “creepy and invasive” even though many others regarded it “avoidable and dangerous”.


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