Good Guys Halt Facial Recognition As Watchdog Investigates
The Good Guys have stopped using facial recognition technology in their stores, following a complaint made to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
This follows an investigation by consumer whistleblowers CHOICE, who also highlighted similar technology in Kmart and Bunnings stores.
The Good Guys will now pause the use of facial recognition software in its Maribyrnong and Brighton stores, both of which are in Melbourne, “pending any clarification from the OAIC regarding the use of this technology.”
“The Good Guys take the confidentiality of personal information extremely seriously and remains confident that the trial complied with all applicable law,” a spokesperson said.
“The technology was solely used to review incidents of theft, and for the purposes of customer and team member safety and wellbeing.”
Bunnings slammed CHOICE’s investigation as an “inaccurate characterisation” of how the systems are used.
“This technology is used solely to keep team and customers safe and prevent unlawful activity in our stores, which is consistent with the Privacy Act,” a spokesperson said.
“In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of challenging interactions our team have had to handle in our stores and this technology is an important tool in helping us to prevent repeat abuse and threatening behaviour towards our team and customers.
Kmart also acknowledged their use of this software, which they alert customers to via the above sign, placed at the entry of its stores.
“At Kmart we are trialing facial recognition in a small number of stores for the limited purposes of safety and loss prevention (such as reducing refund fraud),” a spokesperson said.
“We are committed to keeping personal information private and protected in compliance with privacy law.”
Neither Bunnings or Kmart have stopped using the technology.