Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Australian retail giants named in facial recognition tech complaint

Stock Markets Jun 27, 2022 11:50AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk past stores of Australian electronic goods retailers JB Hi-Fi and the privately-held 100-store rival The Good Guys located in a shopping center in Sydney, Australia, May 19, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo 2/2

By Byron Kaye

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Three of Australia's biggest retail chains have been referred to the privacy regulator for recommended enforcement action by a major consumer group which has said they use "unreasonably intrusive" facial recognition technology on customers.

CHOICE, in a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) published on Monday, said use of the technology at JB Hi-Fi Ltd's appliances chain The Good Guys as well as hardware chain Bunnings and the Australian arm of big-box retailer Kmart - both owned by Wesfarmers Ltd - was unwarranted.

The OAIC said it was reviewing the complaint. Bunnings' chief operating officer Simon McDowell said the technology was used only for security after "an increase in the number of challenging interactions our team have had to handle" and that the company was "disappointed by CHOICE's inaccurate characterisation".

JB Hi-Fi and Kmart were not available for comment.

An OAIC investigation would be Australia's biggest into facial recognition technology as consumer groups worldwide warn of incursions on privacy and potential for racial profiling. The retailers in the CHOICE complaint operate about 800 stores, booking A$25 billion ($17 billion) in sales last year.

CHOICE policy adviser Amy Pereira said facial recognition technology brought "significant risk to individuals" including "invasion of privacy, misidentification, discrimination, profiling and exclusion, as well as vulnerability to cybercrime through data breaches and identity theft".

"CHOICE urges you as Commissioner to investigate this matter further and consider taking enforcement action against Kmart, Bunnings and The Good Guys for failure to meet their obligations under the (Privacy) Act," Pereira said in the complaint.

CHOICE routinely contributes to government inquiries involving consumer issues, and on its website said it was instrumental in many regulatory changes such as an extended ban on risky financial products.

In 2021, it ordered the Australian 7-Eleven chain to destroy "faceprints" collected at 700 convenience stores on iPads set up to run customer surveys. It also ordered U.S. software developer Clearview AI, which collects images from social media websites to build profiles of individuals, to destroy data and stop the practice in Australia.

CHOICE said the three firms in its complaint collected personal and sensitive information without consent and without clearly disclosing the practice in a policy.

Some stores have signs alerting shoppers to the technology, but "customers' silence cannot be taken as consent" and many had no alternative place to make their purchases, CHOICE said.

($1 = 1.4465 Australian dollars)

Australian retail giants named in facial recognition tech complaint
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email