Cadillac Fairview covertly uses facial recognition to monitor shoppers

Occurred: June 2018-October 2020

Canadian commercial real estate company Cadillac Fairview was found to have been secretly using facial recognition to capture customer data without their knowledge or consent.

Cadillac Fairview was discovered to have been using facial recognition at two of its shopping malls by a customer, who exposed the practice on Reddit. The findings were taken up by federal and provincial privacy regulators, leading the company, which had said it was using facial recognition to track people's genders and ages whilst not capturing their images, to suspend its use of its system while it was investigated.

The privacy commissioners ruled in October 2020 that Cadillac Fairview had installed facial recognition in a dozen malls and analysed visitor images without consent, and that its software supplier Anonymous Video Analytics had kept 5,061,324 million facial representations on a decommissioned server on the company’s behalf 'for no apparent purpose and with no justification.'

Incident databank 🔢

Operator: Cadillac Fairview
Developer: Anonymous Video Analytics
Country: Canada
Sector: Retail
Purpose: Analyse shopper behaviour
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

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