Big brother is tracking you: lawmakers condemn facial recognition cameras in stores

A surveillance camera at the Royal Society London
(Image credit: Digital Camera World / Jon Devo)

Major UK chain stores Sports Direct and House of Fraser are facing criticism for their use of biometric facial recognition software. The technology is being used to monitor customers’ movements and behavior within the stores, but it has been described as an Orwellian surveillance tactic that facilitates draconian control. 

Stores having CCTV and indoor security cameras is nothing new – having worked in retail, and been the victim of an armed robbery, I have experienced firsthand how useful it can be in prosecuting criminals. But the facial recognition software supplied by Facewatch is being used to scan the faces of customers as they enter the store, regardless of whether they have ever committed a crime. The software then compares the faces to a database of known shoplifters and other individuals who have previously been banned from the store. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.