Kohler, BMW, MaxMara China facial recognition

March 2021
Updated: January 2022

Bathroom fixture maker Kohler, fashion house MaxMara and BMW have been singled out by the Chinese authorities for covertly using facial recognition to monitor and analyse shopper movements in their mainland China stores.

CCTV alleges the three companies had failed to inform or gain permission from visitors to their stores that they were being surveilled and their facial images analysed and matched.

Chinese national data privacy legislation that started on January 1 requires that user are informed and their consent is given when private and sensitive is collected and processed.

The allegations were made during events marking China's annual Consumer Rights Day.

Operator: Kohler; BMW; MaxMara

Developer: Unclear/unknown

Country: China

Sector: Retail

Purpose: Understand shopper behaviour
Technology: Facial recognition

Issue: Privacy; Security
Opacity: Governance; Privacy