Facial Recognition in Retail

Supporters and detractors of facial recognition systems that are nationally deployed generally fall into two categories: Those who think is it unacceptable in a democracy as it has the potential to track people anywhere in the country there is a CCTV camera (which is everywhere in the UK), and those who think it could be useful for national security.

However another group has emerged, those who think it should be used everyday in all walks of life. t

Budgens (see previous posting on the issue) now has facial recognition systems in its store. With companies that sell this equipment pushing it into the market it is likely that other stores will soon have more of this technology

Aurora , a facial recognition company, markets at exactly that sector


For those who don’t think this technology will work for a while, here is a video put out by OrganixIT another facial recognition company

Staff Entering Office

Is this technology that we want in our streets, shops and work places? Tracking and logging every movement of every person into every building?


UK Airports to get facial recognition

Airports are to introduce a trial of automated facial-recognition technology, the government has said.

The trial will begin during the summer in an attempt to improve security and reduce passenger congestion.

Holders of new UK and EU biometric passports will pass through unmanned gates that will scan their faces and match them to records.

The Home Office said that the pilot scheme would be extended to all major UK airports, if successful.

Border security officials believe that the new technology will be more effective at passport screening, and preventing identity fraud.

Biometric technology uses computerised methods to identify a person by their unique physical or behavioural characteristics.


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.”