According to a report in the Daily Mail, biometric surveillance cameras are being used in at least 27 of Frasers Group's retail stores. Frasers Group, which is owned by billionaire Mike Ashley includes Sports Direct and fashion outlet Flannels. The cameras are being used to screen shoppers against a watchlist and alert store staff if there is a match. In a statement, Big Brother Watch claimed the practice is Orwellian. The Information Commissioner Office (ICO) has confirmed it is investigating whether the use is lawful. In the meantime, Frasers Group will continue to roll the surveillance measures, which it claims prevents thousands of crimes a month.
In July last year, Big Brother Watch submitted a complaint to the ICO against Southern Co-operative over the retailer's use of facial recognition cameras in 35 of its 200 stores. At the time, the ICO stated it would assess "the compliance of a small number of private companies who have used, or are currently using, live facial recognition technology. Facewatch is amongst the organisations under consideration."
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