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Kmart Among 3 Retailers Under Fire for Use of Facial Recognition Tech

One of the them is accused of blacklisting customers using “Orwellian” and “chilling” tactics

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Kmart and hardware retailer Bunnings Warehouse are being investigated by the Australian government for the use of facial recognition technology in their stores, The Guardian reports.

The two companies have halted their use of the tech amid the inquiry, which was prompted after consumer group Choice’s own investigation about the deployment of facial recognition CCTV among Australia’s 25 largest retailers.

Separately, British grocery chain Southern Co-op is also drawing heat for its use of the technology, Fortune magazine writes.

A privacy group called Big Brother Watch filed a complaint with the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office, accusing the chain of blacklisting customers without due process and describing its security tactics as “Orwellian” and “chilling.”

Defending its use of facial recognition tech, Bunnings Managing Director Mike Schneider told The Guardian it bans unruly and violent customers, but “a ban isn’t effective if it’s hard to enforce. Facial recognition gives us a chance to identify when a banned person enters a store so we can support our team to handle the situation before it escalates.”

Read more at The Guardian.

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