Rite Aid faces five-year ban on facial recognition due to ‘careless’ use

-Gudstory

Rite Aid faces five-year ban on facial recognition due to ‘careless’ use -Gudstory

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Under the settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, Rite Aid is not allowed to use AI-powered facial recognition technology for the next five years. In a complaint filed Tuesday, the FTC accused Rite Aid of using facial surveillance systems in a “reckless” manner from 2012 to 2020.

During this period, the FTC says Rite Aid used facial recognition technology “to capture images of all consumers as they entered or passed through stores.” It then allegedly created a database of customers it identified as shoplifting or exhibiting any other type of suspicious behavior. According to the complaint, for some customers, the database will contain “relevant information”, such as name, date of birth, and activity deemed suspicious by the store.

Rite Aid employees reportedly followed and searched marked customers around stores

When a flagged shopper enters a Rite Aid store with facial recognition technology on, the FTC says employees will be sent a “match alert” to their mobile phones. As a result, according to the complaint, Rite Aid employees allegedly followed customers around stores, conducted searches, publicly accused them of shoplifting and even had officers remove some shoplifters. Also asked for. The FTC says Rite Aid incorrectly identified people who were previously flagged by the system, with incidents “disproportionately” affecting people of color.

Additionally, the pharmacy chain did not inform customers that it used facial recognition technology, even though employees were instructed not to disclose this information, the complaint said. The majority of Rite Aid stores equipped with facial recognition technology were located in New York City, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit, Atlantic City, and a few other cities.

Samuel Levin, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement, “Rite Aid’s reckless use of facial surveillance systems caused its customers to suffer humiliation and other harms, and its violation of the order put consumers’ sensitive information at risk. “Put it in.” “Today’s unprecedented order makes clear that the Commission will remain vigilant to protect the public from inappropriate biometric surveillance and improper data security practices.”

In addition to a five-year ban on using facial recognition technology, the FTC’s proposed order requires Rite Aid to establish “comprehensive safeguards” to protect customers. The company must delete “all photos and videos” of customers collected by its facial recognition system, implement a data security program, and provide a written notice to customers whose biometric data will be processed in the future, among other provisions. Will be enrolled in the database. Since Rite Aid is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings, the FTC says the order will go into effect once the bankruptcy court and federal district court approve the measures.

In addition to Rite Aid, many retail stores have implemented facial recognition as a means of monitoring guests. In 2021, 35 organizations came together to demand that retailers such as Albertsons, Macy’s, and Ace Hardware stop using the technology. Some states, including Maine, have enacted laws regulating the use of facial recognition, while New York City requires that locations and retailers notify customers when biometric data collection is in use.

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