Inner West calls for facial recognition to be withdrawn from local stores

Thursday 16 June 2022

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne has today written to companies who have been caught making use of facial recognition technology for surveillance to stop this invasive monitoring of customers in Inner West retail stores.

“Following yesterday's revelations from CHOICE Australia that Bunnings Warehouse Australia, Kmart Australia and The Good Guys are all making use of facial recognition technology, I have written to all three companies requesting that they desist from using this surveillance in their Inner West stores,” Mayor Byrne said.

“Customers have not been informed that they are being monitored in this way, how their facial data is being stored or what it is being used for.

“There is no need for retail stores to be using this authoritarian method on monitoring and collecting data on our citizens,” he said.

Yesterday, CHOICE reported that major Australian retailers Kmart, Bunnings and The Good Guys are all using facial recognition technology in their stores.

The practise has raised important concerns among privacy experts.

‘The use of this developing technology, which captures and stores unique biometric information such as facial features (known as a 'faceprint'), would come as news to most customers’, CHOICE reported.

“Capturing the biometric data without the consent of their customers is a clear breach of privacy,” Mayor Byrne said.

“That why I have written to these companies, urging them to abandon the practice until more and better safeguards are in place,” Mayor Byrne said.

Last year, the Australian Human Rights Commission recommended a moratorium on the use of biometric technologies, including facial recognition, until there is law reform to provide stronger, clearer and more targeted human rights protections.

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Page last updated: 16 Jun 2022