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March 21, 2023
Facial recognition technology in retail stores has surged during the pandemic.
Implementation increased as COVID-19 lockdowns reduced the workforce and created a fear around social interaction. These conditions led stores to depend on contactless check-out options and increased security due to fewer workers. Anti-facial recognition organizations have suggested that retailers are capitalizing off of the pandemic.
“Retailers justify using facial recognition to protect and predict their profits, but this technology puts workers in danger, exacerbates bias, and amasses personal data. Retailers across the country that are exploring this invasive technology should know that prioritizing profit over privacy is wrong,” said Caitlin Seeley George, campaign director for Fight for the Future.
George launched the advocacy group’s efforts last month, ahead of congressional hearings regarding the issue. Their latest efforts include a list of popular retailers who “are using, might use, and won’t use” the controversial technology. The scorecard claims Apple Stores, Macy’s, H.E.B Grocery, and Albertsons have already implemented facial recognition.
Popular retailers who may use the technology include Walgreens, Best Buy, and Starbucks. Facial recognition technology poses a privacy concern, George suggested. Another instance of implementation includes American law enforcement. For instance, the NYPD has the capacity to track individuals across NYC using the technology.
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ECONOMIST