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Major retail chains yield to consumer pressure over facial scans

(Source: Bigstock)

A list of major retail chains that have confirmed they do not scan the faces of customers and use facial recognition technology has been published by consumer advocacy group Choice.

The move comes as several major retailers ‘outted’ by Choice for using scanning technology have bowed to public pressure and will stop doing so.

Earlier this month, Australia’s privacy watchdog, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner launched an investigation into Kmart and Bunnings’ use of facial recognition technology following Choice’s complaint. The two retailers initially refused to back down but were today reported to have paused the technology. JB Hi-Fi subsidiary The Good Guys has also stopped using it. 

According to Choice, Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, Myer, and other 13 major retailers have committed to not scanning customers’ faces and declared they have no plans to introduce it. The others are Target, BigW, David Jones, Officeworks, Dan Murphy’s, BWS, First Choice, Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, Rebel, BCF, Supercheap Auto, and Macpac. 

“This commitment from the 17 retailers to avoid the use of facial recognition technology will be strongly welcomed by their customers,” said Kate Bower, consumer data advocate at Choice. 

“We know the community are really worried about the pleased to know they can go into a store like Woolworths or Myer without having their sensitive personal information captured by facial recognition technology.”

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