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Some UK Stores Are Using Facial Recognition to Track Shoppers

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The post is the only public acknowledgement of the use of the technology and Lewis says it has been “successful,” with the tech being deployed in branches where there are higher levels of crime.In response to police use of facial recognition technology, the Court of Appeal criticized a lack of transparency around the creation of watchlists and who could be on them. In Brazil during December 2018, 2.75 million faces were captured by the tech with the company founders telling the FT it reduced crime “overall by 70 percent.” (The report also said one Co-op food store around London’s Victoria station was using the tech.)However, civil liberties advocates and regulators are cautious of the expansion of private facial recognition networks, with concerns about their regulation and proportionality.“Once anyone walks into a Co-op store, they'll be subject to facial recognition scans... The UK’s data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), says companies must have clear evidence that there’s a legal basis for these systems to be used.“Public support for the police using facial recognition to catch criminals is high, but less so when it comes to the private sector operating the technology in a quasi-law enforcement capacity,” a spokesperson for the ICO says. And London’s Met Police was forced to apologize after handing images of seven people to a controversial private facial recognition system in Kings Cross in October 2019.Both Co-op and Facewatch say their work involves no data sharing with police. “Facewatch do not share data with the police and vice versa,” a spokesperson says.In the coming years, the use of private facial recognition networks is certainly set to increase.

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