Retailer accused of targeting poorest areas with live facial recognition

27/01/2024 | The Guardian

Supermarket chain Southern Co-operative is being criticised by a privacy rights group, Big Brother Watch (BBW), for targeting people living in poorer areas. Southern While the company uses Facewatch's live facial recognition cameras in 34 of its branches, 14 of these branches are in the poorest neighbourhoods, compared to only 5 in the richest third of neighbourhoods in England, raising concerns about the technology's impact on disadvantaged groups. BBW analysed data supplied by Southern Co-op and the England-wide 2019 Indices of Multiple Deprivation to conclude that AI supermarket surveillance is being directed at poorer communities, leading to excessive invasions of privacy and unfair treatment. Southern Co-op maintains that it does not consider the deprivation levels while deploying the technology.

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