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7-Eleven Took Photos of Australian Customers' Faces Without Consent, Privacy Commissioner Rules

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A 7-11 store in Australia.

A 7-Eleven spokesperson said the company accepted the decision but argued the facial recognition system was used by many businesses across the retail sector and was entirely voluntary.

Credit: Julian Smith/AAP

Australian privacy commissioner Angelene Falk said the facial recognition technology used in 700 Australian 7-Eleven stores interfered with customer privacy, prompting the convenience store giant to disable it.

7-Eleven deployed tablets with built-in cameras that took photos of customers when they filled out surveys, then uploaded them to a server where the images were converted to encrypted algorithmic faceprints.

The faceprints were assessed to determine a person's approximate age and gender, then cross-referenced with all other faceprints generated by the tablet in the previous 24 hours, with matches flagged for review.

7-Eleven collected as many as 3.2 million facial images over a 10-month period.

Falk said that "any benefits to the business in collecting this biometric information were not proportional to the impact on privacy."

The convenience store chain was given 90 days to destroy all faceprints.

From The Guardian (U.K.)
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