2 ASX companies busted for sneaky facial recognition on customers

A deliberately blurred shot of shoppers inside a retail setting with facial recognition technology data superimposed on their faces, identifying their genders, ages and other biometric data.A deliberately blurred shot of shoppers inside a retail setting with facial recognition technology data superimposed on their faces, identifying their genders, ages and other biometric data.

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) and JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) have been using facial recognition on unknowing customers in their stores.

That’s the finding from consumer advocacy group Choice, which investigated 25 Australian retailers for their privacy credibility.

The enquiry found Wesfamers-owned retailers Kmart and Bunnings, plus JB Hi-Fi’s The Good Guys appliance outlets, all used the identification technology on anyone who walked through their doors.

According to Choice consumer data spokesperson Kate Bower, the practice is “a completely inappropriate and unnecessary use of the technology”.

“Using facial recognition technology in this way is similar to Kmart, Bunnings, or The Good Guys collecting your fingerprints or DNA every time you shop,” she said.

“Businesses using invasive technologies to capture their customers’ sensitive biometric information is unethical and is a sure way to erode consumer trust.”

Choice announced that it would dob in the retailers to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) to explore possible breaches of the Privacy Act.

The consumer group also urged the federal government to regulate facial recognition.

Wesfarmers and JB Hi-Fi had not responded to enquiries from The Motley Fool at the time of writing.

Harvested biometric data includes children

What made it worse, according to Bowers, was that 76% of Australians didn’t even realise their unique facial data was harvested.

“Choice observed that Kmart and Bunnings display small signs at the entrance of stores where the technology is in use,” she said.

“However, discreet signage and online privacy policies are not nearly enough to adequately inform shoppers that this controversial technology is in use.”

Bowers added that the biometric data collected included infants and children.

Kmart Marrickville in western Sydney. (Source: Choice)

“Choice is concerned that Australian businesses are using facial recognition technology on consumers before Australians have had their say on its use in our community.”

“With the government currently undergoing a review of the Privacy Act, now is the perfect time to strengthen measures around the capture and use of consumer data.”

Wesfarmers shares have dropped more than 30% since the start of the year, while JB Hi-Fi has seen its stock price fall almost 20%.

The post 2 ASX companies busted for sneaky facial recognition on customers appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

Wondering where you should invest $1,000 right now?

When investing expert Scott Phillips has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the flagship Motley Fool Share Advisor newsletter he has run for over ten years has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.* Scott just revealed what he believes could be the “five best ASX stocks” for investors to buy right now. These stocks are trading at near dirt-cheap prices and Scott thinks they could be great buys right now

See The 5 Stocks
*Returns as of January 12th 2022

(function() {
function setButtonColorDefaults(param, property, defaultValue) {
if( !param || !param.includes(‘#’)) {
var button = document.getElementsByClassName(“pitch-snippet”)[0].getElementsByClassName(“pitch-button”)[0];
button.style[property] = defaultValue;
}
}

setButtonColorDefaults(“#43B02A”, ‘background’, ‘#5FA85D’);
setButtonColorDefaults(“#43B02A”, ‘border-color’, ‘#43A24A’);
setButtonColorDefaults(“#fff”, ‘color’, ‘#fff’);
})()

More reading

Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Wesfarmers Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

from The Motley Fool Australia https://ift.tt/XygOQSH

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s