Big Brother in your supermarket shopping trolly

By   /   May 15, 2018  /   10 Comments

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Allowing one side of our Supermarket duopoly to harvest data from facial recognition that can be on-sold to others or collected by State agencies is beyond Orwellian.

The biggest concern I have at news one of our Supermarket duopoly members have adopted face recognition software is what their contract allows for.

Because we have a duopoly and because most human beings require food, the chances of this impacting you is enormous, and it gives incredible powers and opportunities to marketers and State agencies.

Northcote National Party candidate accidentally let this desire slip during his devastating interview with Simon Wilson…

Bidois is strategy manager at Foodstuffs, which owns Pak’N Save, New World and Four Square. “Half the population shops at a Foodstuffs store. Imagine what you can do with that.” What, indeed?

…the Supermarket chain has claimed this is for security reasons to weed out shoplifters.

Sure, it can be used for that, but what about everything else?

Can a state agency ask for footage?

Can WINZ or MSD ask for that information?

Can the Police access it without a warrant?

Who else has access to this footage?

Where is it stored?

When does the footage get deleted?

Does it ever get deleted?

Allowing one side of our Supermarket duopoly to harvest data from facial recognition that can be on-sold to others or collected by State agencies is beyond Orwellian.

This is Big Brother in your supermarket shopping trolly.

These issues are already being debated overseas

The report warns that new technologies, such as facial recognition software, will open up new opportunities for advertisers and marketers but also pose significant new risks.

Dr Suelette Dreyfus, from the school of computing at the University of Melbourne, said data about people’s movements and behaviours collected by shopping centres, retailers and advertising companies could be combined with new technologies that included physical biometric identification, mood analysis and behavioural biometrics.

This, she warned, would remove consumers’ ability to not give their details or use a pseudonym when when dealing with an organisation that collects data, like a supermarket. That has the potential to undermine one of the key protections of the Privacy Act – the right not to give your details.

Dreyfus also said the biometric analysis technology now used for security was being repurposed to monitor the mood of individuals and their responses to advertising. It could also be used by employers to monitor the mood of employees.

“This technology is being sold and implemented despite the clear privacy and ethical issues with its implementation and the questionable value of the measurement itself,” she said.

Data Rights Watch is urging the development of an opt-out register for people who do not want their movement data used for commercial purposes. It is calling for a compulsory register of entities that collect behavioural biometric data.

…why isn’t this debate being had in NZ?

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  1. G.A.P. says:

    Looks like countdown for me, until of course they start doing it to!!!

    • mpledger says:

      Time to start wearing balaclavas to the supermarket.

      • Christine says:

        MPLEDGER some places like banks, and maybe WINZ, already ban entry to customers wearing hats – any hat at all – so balaclavas to the supermarket could be quite interesting.

    • Christine says:

      Thank you for this and well done on picking it up – I’ve not seen it reported elsewhere in the media.

      I would have thought much of the supermarket data collection issue would be Privacy Commisssion territory.

      Copied your questions contemplating raising them with our local NWS manager but decided it would be a waste of time, because every question can be “justified” as just a good civic-minded citizen doing his duty, while anyone querying this is likely to be cast an anarchist – or something equally ridiculous. Ghosts of Stalin.

  2. Michelle says:

    Well I spend lots of money on food and I don’t think it is right for them to be doing this (spying on us) I will be looking for a super market that doesn’t do this to spend my money. Also they already have things like one card and fly buys to monitor our spending and buying habits. What is wrong with using a store detective and the cameras they were using. This is more of an invasion of our privacy and it needs to stop.

  3. Kevin says:

    Agreed boycott them and shop at Countdown.
    Countdown will get such a HUGE boost in shoppers/revenue that they wont DARE use the same technology for causing their business to drop back (SIGNIFICANYLY !) to what is was before.
    A bit like the ‘political suicide claim about taxing the home’, argument.
    We vote every day with our (hard earned) money. Use it wisely and boycott such corrupt actions

  4. Tom Gardner says:

    Personally, I’m not too fussed. If someone on the other end of a camera finds it fascinating to watch me shop, more fool them.

  5. mary_a says:

    We have begun shopping at our local Fresh Choice supermarket in Cromwell. Not only are overall prices cheaper, but the quality of fruit, veges and meat produce is always fresh.

    Be interesting to see what Foodstuffs do if someone walked into one of their chain stores, wearing a full beanie, dark glasses and a thick scarf covering the mouth, chin and neck! It’s the weather for it folks, particularly down here in Central Otago.

  6. WILD KATIPO says:

    We will increasingly see more and more of this sort of invasive technology with the justification of ‘security’…

    What I would really like to see more and more and more of,… is research USING technology ie ; internet , … to uncover those criminal individuals who CREATED the conditions post 1984 for so much poverty to exist in this country to the point that otherwise honest people feel the need to have to shoplift at all …

    Perhaps we could start here :

    New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?

  7. Michelle says:

    Interesting the Hutt Valley Westfield Queensgate shopping centre allows muslim women to wear a nicaq and all we can see his her eyes but our teenager ain’t allowed to wear a hoody over their heads and when myself and others witnessed this we were all very alarmed that we seem to accommodate foreigners and their religious beliefs but not kiwis something is wrong here.

Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog,