Bunnings, Kmart Suspend Use Of Facial Recognition System Amidst OAIC Investigation

Bunnings, Kmart Suspend Use Of Facial Recognition System Amidst OAIC Investigation
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Following a report from consumer advocacy group Choice that revealed both Kmart and Bunnings were taking biometric information regarding their customers and an investigation from the OAIC, both companies have now announced they will be temporarily shutting down the facial recognition systems.

Earlier this month it was announced that the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) was looking to investigate how Kmart and Bunnings were using their customer information.

This came after Choice’s report indicated that the Good Guys, Kmart and Bunnings were using facial recognition systems in their stores to capture customer’s unique facial patterns, despite most customers not realising their identities were being recorded in this manner.

Commenting on the use of the facial recognition system in his company, Bunnings managing director Mike Schneider said: “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.”

A Kmart spokesperson has reportedly confirmed that the retail group was using the technology for similar reasons, and that the focus was on preventing crimes rather than recording and utilising individual customer’s personal details and shopping habits.

Angelene Falk, Australian information commissioner and privacy commissioner, has also announced an inquiry into the Good Guys Discount Warehouses for their use of similar technology, though it reported the halting of facial recognition software in stores back in June.

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