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An Australian Privacy Commission determined that 7-Eleven violated customer privacy by collecting facial imagery without consent.

The convenience store chain has disabled facial recognition technology in 700 of its stores in the country. The commission determined that the company collected 3.2 million facial images over a 10-month period.


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The system works via tablets assigned to each location as a way of allowing customers to fill out feedback surveys. Each tablet had a built-in camera that took pictures of customers as they started and completed surveys, Guardian informed of.

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The photos collected during this process were then uploaded to a locally hosted server, which converted the images into a faceprint that guesses the person’s age and gender.

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7-Eleven argued that the images were “effectively eliminated” after 24 hours, but did not specify whether they were deleted. The data collection contributed to efforts to better understand the demographic profile of customers, but the Australian Information Commissioner’s Office of Investigation violated privacy laws and was not reasonably required, zdnet informed of.

Customers in Australia must give explicit consent to the collection of sensitive information. Angeline Falk, who leads the commission, said 7-Eleven did not provide enough information about how the information would be used or stored, meaning the company did not receive any consent, despite noting a disclaimer on its website. .

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“For a person to be ‘identifiable,’ they do not necessarily need to be identified by specific information,” Falk said. “A person may be ‘identifiable’ where it is possible to identify the individual from the information available, which includes, but is not limited to, information about the problem.”

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7-Eleven complied with the order to stop data collection and is further ordered to destroy all collected “Faceprint” data.