May 30, 2023


It's the Technology

CHOICE raises concern over Bunnings, Kmart and the Good Guys use of facial recognition technology


You almost certainly you should not know it, but you may possibly be leaving a little something powering when you shop at some of Australia’s major stores — your facial area.

Shopper group Choice is referring Kmart, Bunnings and The Fantastic Men to the Office of the Australian Details Commissioner to investigate opportunity breaches of the Privacy Act above their use of facial recognition technology.

The organisation probed 25 of “Australia’s most-reliable stores”, and discovered Kmart, Bunnings and The Fantastic Fellas ended up “capturing the biometric information of their prospects”.

Choice also surveyed much more than 1,000 clients concerning March and April this 12 months as part of their investigation.

Option customer details advocate, Kate Bower, mentioned the use of facial recognition by The Great Men, Kmart and Bunnings was “completely inappropriate and avoidable”.

“To make matters even worse, we found 76 per cent of Australians aren’t mindful that stores are capturing their exceptional facial capabilities in this way,” she stated. 

“Working with facial recognition technology in this way is equivalent to Kmart, Bunnings or The Great Men accumulating your fingerprints or DNA each time you shop. Organizations using invasive technologies to capture their customers’ sensitive biometric info is unethical and is a guaranteed way to erode buyer have confidence in.”

Woman with dark mid length hair, wearing grey shirt, with sleeves rolled up, unsmiling, arms crossed and standing in open office
Kate Bower claims most shoppers aren’t knowledgeable their deal with is staying captured and stored.(Equipped: Alternative)

To develop the purchaser “faceprint”, images and video clip from cameras in a shop are analysed.

Ms Bower claimed Kmart and Bunnings shown “modest symptoms at the entrance of outlets wherever the technological know-how was in use”.

“However, discreet signage and on line privacy procedures are not practically sufficient to sufficiently inform consumers that this controversial technological know-how is in use,” she reported.

“The know-how is capturing highly particular facts from consumers, like infants and kids.”

The ABC has contacted Bunnings, The Excellent Fellas and Kmart for comment.

Composite photo with a large shopfront featuring a red Kmart sign on the left. On the right: sign with small black text
Decision states most prospects are not knowledgeable some shops are working with facial recognition engineering.(Supplied: Selection)

Bunnings’ chief working officer Simon McDowell told Alternative the technologies was utilised to “identify people of interest who have previously been associated in incidents of issue in our shops”.

“This technological know-how is an crucial evaluate that will help us to preserve a secure and safe atmosphere for our staff and buyers,” he explained.

“We permit clients know about our use of CCTV and facial recognition engineering through signage at our shop entrances and also in our privateness plan, which is obtainable on our web site.”

Respondents to CHOICE’s survey described the tech as “creepy and invasive” although many others viewed as it “avoidable and unsafe”.

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