Budgens and Face recognition

In the latest battle against terrorism and underage drinking Budgens has now introduced face recognition.

A database will be built up across its stores of people who are and are not underage. This raises several immediate questions:

1) How long will the database be kept? Clearly it will, de-facto, contain erroneous information over a given period of time

2) How is this data about people controlled?

3) What happened to common sense? Is facial a recognition system really required to ask for somebodies ID, or spot a 14 year old from a 40 year old?

The obvious problems with this system are clear for all to see.

Morrisions refused to serve a man in his 60’s because he didn’t have his ID – because of this his face would be recorded as “under age” in the Budgens system. This means that if he returned, he would automatically be refused service.

If companies allow staff to refuse to server pensioners because they ‘could be underage’, then rely on facial recognition databases to enforce previous decisions it is unlikely that they would allow their staff the common sense approach of marking a databases as wrong. You can hear it now “computer says noooo” .

Equally the reverse is true. If an underage person manages to produce fake ID once, or get their friend behind the counter to mark them as “over 18”, then they will always be able to buy alcohol from that store.

The supermarket chain Budgens has installed face recognition cameras in one of its stores to stop children buying alcohol and cigarettes.

It is thought to be the first time a UK retailer has used the technology to identify underage customers.

The scheme is being piloted at an unnamed branch of Budgens in London.”



3 Responses to “Budgens and Face recognition”

  1. Facial Recognition in Retail « Data - Where is it? Says:

    […] (see previous posting on the issue) now has facial recognition systems in its store. And with companies selling this […]

  2. Gunwharf Quays - Tracks Customers « Data - Where is it? Says:

    […] are already using facial recognition systems on their customers, and now shopping centers in the UK are using a new form of mobile phone […]

  3. A.Cammozzo Says:

    I published an up-to date review on face-recognition privacy issues and privacy-enhancing techniques: http://tagmenot.info/content/face-recognition-and-privacy

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