Hardware firm Bunnings and department store Kmart collect customers’ “faceprints” in some locations.
Consumer advocacy group Choice says the technology is unethical, invasive and being used without proper consent or reasoning.
Both retailers defended its use as an anti-theft and safety measure.
The Australian Information Commissioner said her office had opened an investigation to determine whether they had breached privacy laws.
Australian retailers can only collect sensitive biometric information if “reasonably necessary” for their operations and they have “clear consent”, Angelene Falk said.
“While deterring theft and creating a safe environment are important goals, using high privacy impact technologies in stores carries significant privacy risks,” Commissioner Falk said last month, after the use of the technology was first revealed.
“Retailers need to be able to demonstrate that it is a proportionate response.”
Last year, she found convenience store chain 7-Eleven had interfered with customers’ privacy by collecting faceprints in a similar case.
The watchdog said it was also “conducting inquiries” about another retail company, The Good Guys, which has paused its use of facial recognition technology.
The Australian Human Rights Commission has called for a ban on the technology until Australia has specific laws to regulate its use. It followed police in Western Australia using it for Covid isolation checks.
■ The nation where your ‘faceprint’ is already being tracked
■ Facebook to end use of facial recognition software
Choice said Bunnings and Kmart were only disclosing their use of the technology in small “conditions of entry” notices at the front of stores, and in privacy policies online.
The consumer group surveyed more than 1,000 households and found more than 75% had no idea the technology was in use.
“Using facial recognition technology in this way is similar to Kmart, Bunnings or The Good Guys collecting your fingerprints or DNA every time you shop,” said Choice’s Kate Bower.
Bunnings said its use of the technology had been inaccurately characterised and there were strict controls around its use.
The data collected is not used for marketing purposes, it says, and the only images retained are of people banned from stores or those suspected of illegal or threatening conduct.
“In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of challenging interactions our team have had to handle in our stores and this technology is an important tool in helping us to prevent repeat abuse and threatening behaviour towards our team and customers,” said chief operating officer Simon McDowell.
A spokesperson for Kmart also said the technology was on “trial” to prevent theft and was subject to strict controls.
Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) have unveiled an incredibly powerful, AI-powered method for producing new potential Covid-19 vaccine candidates in a matter of minutes or even seconds.
The new process, developed at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, could mark a major turning point in the information war against the coronavirus and its many, increasingly virulent mutations which are taxing an already challenging worldwide vaccine rollout.
The USC team leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) to speed up vaccine analysis which can be quickly and easily adapted to analyze viral mutations themselves.
Using a machine learning algorithm, the model can allegedly complete vaccine design cycles in a matter of mere minutes, or even seconds, in a feat which before the pandemic took months if not years, showing how far humanity has come in the past 12 months or so.
“This AI framework, applied to the specifics of this virus, can provide vaccine candidates within seconds and move them to clinical trials quickly to achieve preventive medical therapies without compromising safety,” said Paul Bogdan, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at USC Viterbi, adding that it would allow medical researchers to “stay ahead of the coronavirus as it mutates around the world.”
The method optimizes possible treatments for the particular strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, extremely quickly, eliminating some 95 percent of the possible compounds which could be used in vaccines.
Using one strain of SARS-CoV-2 alone, the system predicted 26 potential vaccines that it then whittled down to just 11, all of which attack the virus’ spike proteins that it uses to break-and-enter human cells and begin self-replicating.
The AI-powered system can devise new vaccines in under a minute and validate their quality in less than an hour, in a truly staggering and promising breakthrough, once independently verified and thoroughly tested, of course.
The timing couldn’t be better either, as the medical community is increasingly concerned that new variants and mutations of the virus will be resistant to the current generation of vaccines currently being rolled out across the globe.
Furthermore, the current prototype system only used two of a possible 700,000 proteins to develop its vaccine designs, throwing open the door to a potentially unbeatable, ever-adapting arsenal of vaccine candidates.
The machine learning algorithm draws its intel from a giant bioinformatics database called the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB). An epitope is the part of an antigen – something which triggers an immune response – where an antibody – the immune system response to an antigen – can bind.
The database contains 600,000 known epitopes from some 3,600 different species, including the genome and spike protein sequence of SARS-CoV-2.
In order to support the smooth reopening of shops, Dahua launched its SMB Resumption of work – Smart Shop Solution. This solution offers temperature monitoring, people flow control, built-in face mask detection and social distancing reminder, which can help ensure a safe shopping environment for both customers and staff during this special period.
Employees don’t need to stand at the door all the time.
They only need to assist incoming customers when the number of people inside the shop is reaching the threshold.
Dahua’s deep learning algorithm for social distancing reminders, assisting the store staff to improve work efficiency.
The solution Features face mask detection for intelligent control with face mask detection rate of >95%.
The number of people inside the shop are also monitored and displayed on the screen with 98% accuracy, eliminating the need for manual counting which is often inaccurate especially if there are multiple entrances.
Dahua’s Smart Shop Offers safe, efficient non-contact temperature monitoring. Monitors the number of people inside the shop. Helps to maintain social distancing in the shop. Face mask detection provides “no face mask reminder” that enhances public safety awareness.
Run a Smarter and Safer Store
Compared with online sales, physical retail stores face more challenges. Dahua smart shop solution uses a full range of video surveillance, supplemented by AI intelligent algorithms, to cater to and attract customers. Dahua smart shop solution adopts a more convenient management method, which can timely receive alarms anytime, anywhere, and improve management efficiency.
Footfall Analytics and Perimeter Protection
Unmanned Safeguarding——How to protect stores during non-business hours
Footfall——Understand how many people come to the store and when they come.
Mobile client can receive real-time alarms when someone comes in or out during non-business hours.
Identify traffic cycles across the day, month, or year. Adjust. customer-to-staff ratio during peak hours with flow data.
Surveillance without blind spots
How to reduce loss caused by shoplifting, theft, etc.
Which is the most popular area in the store.
How to improve marketing effectiveness.
Full view of store(1 fisheye=8 conventional camera)
Predict customers’ needs and equip your store to meet their preferences with heat map.
Corridor mode is suitable for the store floor.
Zoom camera provides more details for important areas.
Maximize the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Update ads in time to attract customers.
How to protect the assets especially at night.
High-quality surveillance video provides visual evidence in time.
Effectively deter internal theft.
|As the pandemic starts dying down, countries and cities are re-opening in phases. |
Within each phase, there are invariably social-distancing guidelines or even laws imposed by local health authorities. One of the challenges retailers currently face is managing their stores’ occupancy level and adhere to guidelines and regulations from health experts and authorities.
Occupancy compliance today
By combining network cameras with video analytics, retailers can monitor the number of customers in their stores at a single time and even display the occupancy information at the store entrance. Once a store’s occupancy reaches a certain threshold, a warning message can be displayed on a linked digital display or an audio warning can be triggered to remind customers to stay safe.
This intelligent network solution can help maintain a safe environment by regulating the number of customers entering a store, allowing staff to focus on customer service while remaining compliant.
Improved performance tomorrow
When the pandemic eases, the same technology can be used to analyse customer flows and identify peak visiting times. This can help to inform future decisions – such as store planning and effective staff allocation – and measuring the success of marketing campaigns.
Intelligent technology for a smarter, safer world
The current crisis has overturned old business practices. While retailers are quickly adapting to the new normal, it is important, now more than ever, to focus on innovative, dependable business solutions while at the same time ensuring customer safety as they shop.
Contact MyMESS.Online for more information or visit our range of AXIS CCTV solutions HEAR