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From Macy’s to Albertsons, Facial Recognition is Already Everywhere


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Rite Aid had deployed facial recognition in at least 200 stores over eight years, before ditching the technology last year.

Some leading U.S. retail chains are using facial recognition on their customers, largely without their knowledge, according to the digital rights nonprofit Fight the Future.

Credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images

ome of the US's most popular stores — including Macy's and Albertsons — are using facial recognition on their customers, largely without their knowledge, according to the digital rights nonprofit Fight the Future.

On July 14, Fight for the Future helped launch a nationwide campaign to document which of the country's biggest retailers are deploying facial recognition, and which ones have committed to not use the technology. The campaign, which has the support of more than 35 human rights groups, aims to draw attention to retail stores using facial-scanning algorithms to boost their profits, intensify security systems, and even track their employees.

The campaign comes as a clear reminder that the reach of facial recognition goes far beyond law enforcement and into the private, commercial storefronts we regularly visit. Experts warn that facial recognition in these spaces is particularly concerning because the technology is largely unregulated and undisclosed, meaning both customers and employees may be unaware this software is surveilling and collecting data about them.

"A lot of people would probably be surprised to know how many retailers that they shop in on a regular basis are using this technology in a variety of ways to protect their profits and maximize their profits as well," Caitlin Seeley George, a campaign director at Fight for the Future, told Recode.

From Recode
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