Have you ever wondered if the stores where you shop are watching you? Not just with security cameras. With something more advanced and creepy.
Something that can recognize your face and identify who you are, where you live, what you like and what you buy. Something that can track your every move and use your data for their own benefit.
Well, guess what? They are. That’s right, some of the biggest retailers in this country are secretly using sneaky facial recognition technology in their stores.
What is facial recognition technology?
How some stores are spying on you using creepy facial recognition technology without your consent. (CyberGuy.com)
Facial recognition technology is a type of biometric identification that uses cameras and software to analyze and match your facial features. You may already be using this type of tech to unlock your phone or verify your identity. What you might not know is that some stores are using facial recognition technology to monitor you and your behavior without your permission or knowledge.
Which retailers are using facial recognition in their stores?
According to a recent report by Fight for the Future, a nonprofit group that fights for digital rights, some major retailers in the U.S. are currently using facial recognition technology in their stores, including Macy’s. We reached out to Macy’s for a comment but did not hear back before our deadline. The report also warns that many other retailers might be using facial recognition technology in the future or have already tested it in the past.
Why are stores using facial recognition technology?
Well, they have different reasons, but it all boils down to one thing: money. Some stores use facial recognition technology to prevent shoplifting and fraud by scanning the faces of customers and comparing them to databases of known criminals or suspects.
Some stores use it to collect data for marketing purposes by scanning the faces of customers and analyzing their demographics, preferences and behaviors.
Other stores use facial recognition technology to enhance customer experience by scanning the faces of customers and offering them personalized recommendations, discounts or greetings.
What’s wrong with using facial recognition in stores?
It depends on whom you ask. For many Americans, it’s a huge invasion of privacy. When you go to a store, you don’t expect to be scanned by a hidden camera that can identify you, track you and collect your data. You don’t get to choose whether you want to be scanned or not. You don’t get to know how your data is used, stored, shared or sold.
A nonprofit group is calling attention to how stores use facial recognition technology. (Fight for the Future)
Some cities and states ban or limit facial recognition technology
Facial recognition technology poses risks to privacy, civil liberties and human rights. That’s why some cities and states in the U.S. are already taking steps to ban or limit the use of it by law enforcement or government agencies.
For example, New York has made a permanent moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology in state schools, while a group of lawmakers has reintroduced a bill that would ban federal agencies from using it and other biometric surveillance technologies.
These actions are in line with the calls from human rights advocates to stop using facial recognition technology in public spaces and at borders, as it is not compatible with international human rights law.
The use of facial recognition technology comes with limitations. (CyberGuy.com)
Kurt’s key takeaways
The use of facial recognition technology in stores is a threat to our privacy. We should not have to trade our personal data for convenience or security. We should have the right to know and control how our faces are scanned, used and shared by retailers.
I also believe we should be given the choice of whether we want to participate or opt out. We should demand more transparency and accountability from the companies that use this technology and the governments that regulate it.
How do you think stores should notify you if they are using facial recognition technology? Should they be able to use it without your consent? How concerning is this issue to you? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.
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Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson is an award-winning tech journalist who has a deep love of technology, gear and gadgets that make life better with his contributions for Fox News & FOX Business beginning mornings on “FOX & Friends.” Got a tech question? Get Kurt’s CyberGuy Newsletter, share your voice, a story idea or comment at CyberGuy.com.