published : 2023-10-14

Stores Using Creepy Facial Recognition Technology to Spy on You Without Consent

Sneaky facial recognition technology is invading your shopping experience

A photo of a person shopping in a store, their face partially obscured, reflecting the mysterious and invasive nature of facial recognition technology. (Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

Have you ever wondered if the stores where you shop are watching you?

Not just with security cameras.

With something more advanced and creepy.

Something that can recognize your face and identify who you are, where you live, what you like and what you buy.

Something that can track your every move and use your data for their own benefit.

Well, guess what?

They are.

That's right, some of the biggest retailers in this country are secretly using sneaky facial recognition technology in their stores.

Facial recognition technology is a type of biometric identification that uses cameras and software to analyze and match your facial features.

You may already be using this type of tech to unlock your phone or verify your identity.

What you might not know is that some stores are using facial recognition technology to monitor you and your behavior without your permission or knowledge.

According to a recent report by Fight for the Future, a nonprofit group that fights for digital rights, some major retailers in the U.S. are currently using facial recognition technology in their stores, including Macy's.

A close-up shot of a surveillance camera in a retail store, symbolizing the hidden monitoring and tracking of customers. (Taken with Nikon D850)

The report also warns that many other retailers might be using facial recognition technology in the future or have already tested it in the past.

Well, they have different reasons, but it all boils down to one thing: money.

Some stores use facial recognition technology to prevent shoplifting and fraud by scanning the faces of customers and comparing them to databases of known criminals or suspects.

Some stores use it to collect data for marketing purposes by scanning the faces of customers and analyzing their demographics, preferences and behaviors.

Other stores use facial recognition technology to enhance customer experience by scanning the faces of customers and offering them personalized recommendations, discounts or greetings.

It depends on whom you ask.

For many Americans, it’s a huge invasion of privacy.

When you go to a store, you don’t expect to be scanned by a hidden camera that can identify you, track you and collect your data.

You don’t get to choose whether you want to be scanned or not.

You don’t get to know how your data is used, stored, shared or sold.

Facial recognition technology poses risks to privacy, civil liberties and human rights.

That’s why some cities and states in the U.S. are already taking steps to ban or limit the use of it by law enforcement or government agencies.

An image of a person holding a sign that says 'Protect Your Privacy' in front of a store entrance, advocating for transparency and control over the use of facial recognition technology. (Taken with Sony Alpha a7 III)

For example, New York has made a permanent moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology in state schools, while a group of lawmakers has reintroduced a bill that would ban federal agencies from using it and other biometric surveillance technologies.

These actions are in line with the calls from human rights advocates to stop using facial recognition technology in public spaces and at borders, as it is not compatible with international human rights law.

The use of facial recognition technology in stores is a threat to our privacy.

We should not have to trade our personal data for convenience or security.

We should have the right to know and control how our faces are scanned, used and shared by retailers.

I also believe we should be given the choice of whether we want to participate or opt out.

We should demand more transparency and accountability from the companies that use this technology and the governments that regulate it.

How do you think stores should notify you if they are using facial recognition technology?

Should they be able to use it without your consent?

How concerning is this issue to you?

Let us know by writing us at