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Inquiry into Foodstuffs North Island’s FRT trial starts today

Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster has today started his Inquiry into Foodstuffs North Island’s trial of facial recognition technology (FRT) in 25 of its supermarkets.

The Inquiry is designed to monitor the way stores are running the trial to ensure that it is compliant with the Privacy Act. It will also inform the Commissioner’s assessment of the effectiveness of the use of FRT in reducing harmful behaviour in Foodstuffs North Island supermarkets once the trial is completed.

Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster says: “At the end of the six-month trial I will be assessing the evidence that the use of FRT is justified. Has it made a practical and statistically significant difference to the incidence of retail crime in Foodstuffs North Island supermarkets relative to other less intrusive options?”

“Using facial recognition technology to reduce harmful behaviour in supermarkets raises significant privacy risks and the trial is itself not without risk. That is why I will be paying close attention to the privacy safeguards being used during the trial using my Inquiry powers.

The Inquiry will monitor things like:


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