It’s no longer something out of a science fiction movie.
Some Calgary shopping centres are using facial recognition technology to track buyers.
Shopping malls like Chinook Centre are using facial recognition to analyze shoppers’ ages and genders.
The technology is hidden within mall directories.
In a statement, the mall’s parent company Cadillac Fairview claims it’s not doing anything illegal saying no consent is needed because no images are being stored.
But Sharon Polsky with the Privacy and Access Council of Canada says it’s a problem.
“It’s easy enough for any organization to justify a privacy infringement to say ‘for business purposes,’ or ‘for the public good,’ but that’s really not specific at all and any consent given for something as broad as that is not really informed consent,” Polsky said.
Polsky added if the mall is using your images for a nano-second before discarding them – it’s a breach of your personal privacy.
Cadillac Fairview Statement:
The cameras in our digital directories are there to provide traffic analysis to help us understand usage patterns and continuously create a better shopper experience.
These cameras do not record or store any photo or video content. The directory unit contains software that counts people using the directory via the camera. In June, we began testing software that tries to predict approximate age and gender to further understand the usage of our directories, and with this still no video or photo feed is recorded or stored. Given we are not storing images, we do not require consent. We are not sharing details about the program including locations, as we view this as proprietary.