Rite Aid facial recognition
For years, US drugstore chain Rite Aid has quietly been using facial recognition in hundreds of stores in mostly lower-income, non-white neighbourhoods across the US, according to a Reuters investigation, prompting a civil and political backlash.
RiteAid defended its policy by arguing that the technology was only being used in a 'data-driven' manner to detect and deter crime and violence, and that the cameras were appropriately flagged to customers.
But the chain swiftly shut down its facial recognition system after the Reuters investigation, claiming its 'decision was in part based on a larger industry conversation.'
The investigation also indicated 'serious drawbacks' with RiteAid's first facial recognition partner, FaceFirst, whose technology several security professionals described as inaccurate, especially with regard to Blacks and other races.
In March 2018, the ACLU had questioned whether American retail chains were using face recognition without telling their customers. RiteAid, like nineteen other chains, refused to answer.
The second system used by RiteAid, DeepCam LLC, was closely connected to Chinese company Shenzhen Shenmu Information Technology, which in turn had been invested in by a strategic fund set up by the Chinese government.
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Published: March 2023