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Facial recognition and the Privacy Act: balancing security and individual rights

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has urged businesses to proceed with caution when using facial recognition technology (FRT).

The Commissioner’s warning comes as Foodstuffs, that owns Pak’n Save, New World and Four Square, trials the use of FRT in 29 North Island stores. Foodstuffs says its use of FRT is aimed at preventing crime, and keeping its staff and customers safe.

The Commissioner is doubtful whether the benefits of FRT outweigh its privacy-intrusive nature in the retail setting. The Commissioner is monitoring Foodstuffs’ controlled trial and will release a report outlining a proposed regulatory approach to FRT at the end of this year.

If you are thinking about using FRT for your business, you should conduct a privacy impact assessment. If you need more help, please be in touch.