Flaw with Foodstuffs facial recognition

It has been revealed that Foodstuffs supermarkets are using facial recognition to try to recognise shoplifters after a Dunedin man was incorrectly identified. Foodstuffs claims this was ‘human error’ .

ODT: Foodstuffs using facial recognition

Inquiries about a Dunedin man mistakenly identified as a shoplifter at New World have led to the revelation that New Zealand’s largest supermarket company  has quietly rolled out facial recognition CCTV technology in some of its North Island stores.

The man was allegedly mistakenly identified due to human error, and Foodstuffs NZ claimed facial recognition was not used in the South Island. However, the Otago Daily Times can reveal a different security system that “bridges the gap between businesses and the police” is now used at the Centre City New World in Dunedin, among other South Island stores.

Dunedin mechanic Daniel Ryan said he was recently taken aside by staff shortly after entering the Centre City New World in Great King St, owned by Foodstuffs. He alleged he was taken into a side room and questioned by staff, who said he had been identified as a known shoplifter.

Mr Ryan said the staff then realised he had been mis-identified and he received an apology from the company. While he appreciated the apology, the experience left him feeling humiliated.

“It’s quite bruising to be shuffled off to the side.”

This is disgraceful.

Foodstuffs head of external relations Antoinette Laird said “human error” had led to Mr Ryan being mistakenly identified as a shoplifter. Asked if Centre City New World was using a facial recognition surveillance system, Ms Laird said the technology was used in some of its stores, but none in Dunedin.

“A handful of stores in the North Island have facial recognition CCTV technology as part of their security system.

“We cannot provide specific store detail.”

Facial recognition technology is widely used by retailers overseas.

Supermarkets already have the ability to profile shoppers via the use of ‘loyalty’ cards. What next? In store promotions targeting face recognised shoppers?

That would be insidious, but nowhere near as bad as incorrectly identifying someone and falsely accusing them of being a shop lifter.

Whether New World in Dunedin use face recognition ‘security’ or not this incident raises an alarming issue.

I sometimes shop at Centre City New World. I will think carefully about whether I want to be observed in this way while shopping.

 

Leave a comment

27 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  May 14, 2018

    For all those decades that we worried about Big Brother Government getting too much personal information together & spying on us. Nobody ever thought much or talked about Big Brother Business leaving them for dead when it comes to this threat.

    Reply
  2. David in Aus

     /  May 14, 2018

    Private companies should be able do what it likes within its own walls. But it follows, it should face the consequences of any misteps.

    Shoplifters are a scurge and there are little consequences for them. If they can exclude them effectively, all power to the shopkeepers.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 14, 2018

      They should at least have to advertise they use facial recognition software if they do. Customers can then make an informed choice about whether they want to enter the store or go somewhere else less intrusive on your person. It might also deter shoplifters from entering the store in the first place. Who knows whose datbase(s) of faces they access for matching & who might have been put on there by vengeful abuser or pissed off neighbour or client or customer.

      Reply
      • David in Aus

         /  May 14, 2018

        If they advertised that would that make a difference? They have staff who can facially identify known troublemakers.
        They wouldn’t have the technology to identify every shopper, only facebook and google have that. But I would imagine they are able to scan for known faces.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  May 14, 2018

          We were surprised to see that a Dutch friend’s also Dutch ex was a double for a vicious South African criminal who should have been deported years ago, Facial recognition would have confused the two and it would have been justified.

          Being falsely accused of shoplifting is horrible. I have had it happen twice. Once it was a newspaper that I had gone in with (the shopkeeper ignored the fact that it was a rainy day and my paper was wet) and the second time it was at a Warehouse. I was making up a set of something, and had gone to a second Warehouse…of course that was the time that I’d lost the receipt, but assumed that their ‘sold ‘ tape would show that it had been sold – to me. No, it was the wrong colour for that day. I never did work that out, but the security guard let me go in the end. Must have been having a bad day and wanting to take it out on someone.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  May 14, 2018

            Hello, er, PDTs.

            Be careful, it can make you go blind.

            Reply
    • Corky

       /  May 14, 2018

      I guess they got tired of black people stealing, Lurchy. However, what was shown here was extremely poor ‘suspect control.’ In fact it was non existent. A skilled operator can restrain a suspect while beating him at the same time. These guys were goons and deserved to be arrested.

      Reply
  3. Corky

     /  May 14, 2018

    All together now… let’s repeat the mantra of ignorant sheeple:

    ”If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”

    I doubt Mr Ryan would agree. He may have been a sheeple himself. I doubt he’s one now.

    It all started with our photo ID drivers license.

    Reply
  4. MaureenW

     /  May 14, 2018

    I walked into a Coffee Shop in Auckland recently and was approached by someone asking if I wanted to be able to purchase coffee using facial recognition within the store. Told them to piss off.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 14, 2018

      So, your face is possibly in their database, with a semi-transparent caption:

      “Bites. Approach with care!”

      😳

      Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 14, 2018

    Read to the bottom of this article. Sadly some supermarkets have to deal with the scum of society and try to keep their staff safe.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/103740178/graphic-dashcam-footage-shows-brutal-mob-beating-of-security-guards

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 14, 2018

      Bugger. God machine must need more road cones!

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 14, 2018

        😮 Oo. Just had a horrible thought.

        Which side of the bed do you sleep on? Can you check if Mrs Al is still there? 😬

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  May 14, 2018

          She’s not there, she’s here, Sir Gerald. I’m afraid you are neither here nor there.

          Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 14, 2018

      PDT identifies with scum.

      Reply
  6. David

     /  May 14, 2018

    I assume when entering any shop that there is CCTV as there is through busy CBD areas, cant say really that facial recognition software bothers me all that much, what possible nefarious thing they can do with it ?
    I do always forget my loyalty card so would be delighted if I could smile at the camera and earn my points.

    Reply
    • MaureenW

       /  May 14, 2018

      You’re for sale cheap David, loyalty cards are another form of tracking you. If you don’t mind the gross intrusion these things have in your life, I guess it’s no worries.

      Reply
      • David

         /  May 14, 2018

        If they get to know my preferences they might point me towards one of their products that I didn’t know about or alert me to new stuff I would like to buy.
        If you do anything on the internet Google is doing worse already.

        Reply
  7. Zedd

     /  May 14, 2018

    methinks this tech. is running out & about..on the streets too !
    ‘super stasi’ laws

    Reply
  8. PartisanZ

     /  May 14, 2018

    It’s an upside-down world where it makes more sense – of some sort – to constantly increase ‘security measures’ rather than dealing with the causes of the insecurity – ie ‘crime’ – which creates the need for ever more security …

    Reply
    • MaureenW

       /  May 14, 2018

      Yes you’re right! It’s like an Animal Farm existence

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  May 14, 2018

      We have addressed peoples insecurities….it’s called the ‘welfare system.’ There’s emergency food grants, job training and accommodation supplement. Plus a wad of cash each week for free. Saves people foraging at the dump like they do overseas.

      But blow me down..and around, Parti. The fact is New Zealand is overrun with dishonest
      greedy scumbags..ironically because of our lush welfare system( comparative) and liberal stance on crime.

      Reply
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