Facial recognition companies tout the advantages of spotting ne’er-do-wells intent on stealing from retailers or otherwise compromising a store’s resources.
They also say the technology is useful in spotting that big spender who comes regularly to add to their collection — or maybe a celebrity who’s in town and in the store to shop.
The services send retailers a text or other alert when the shoplifter/big spender comes through the door. Privacy experts are, as you might imagine, appalled.
Companies like Face First and NEC Corporation are tailoring their facial recognition services, long a mainstay in law enforcement and border patrol, to an increasing number of retailers. Maybe there’s a place for this in super-luxury stores or hotels, but this level of invasive tech seems like it would invite more scorn than payoff. Thwarting shoplifters is a constant battle to be sure, but good staff should recognize your favorite, big-spending customers. And this level of creepy is already heavily criticized by privacy advocates and doesn't seem like something to advertise.