tesco facial recognition

Tesco has announced plans to install facial recognition software in petrol stations so that advertisements can be tailored to suit them, it has been reported.

The report was first published in the Grocer, and revealed how the retailer will introduce the OptimEyes screen, developed by Alan Sugar’s Amscreen, to all 450 of its UK petrol stations.

This new screen will be positioned primarily at the till and will be able to scan the eyes of customers to determine age and gender, and then run tailored advertisements.

It will also run adverts depending on the time and date, as well as monitoring customer purchases.

Simon Sugar, CEO of Amscreen, told the industry magazine that although the technology was somewhat Orwellian, his company will be pushing ahead with it anyway because of the profits it could reap for big businesses.

He admitted: “Yes it’s like something out of Minority Report, but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible.”

The screens are predicted to reach a weekly audience of more than five million adults.

Nick Pickles of Big Brother Watch said that the scope of the screens was very concerning.

He said: “Scanning customers as they walk through the store without customers ever giving permission for them to be scanned in that way…there’s a huge consent issue there.

“If people were told that every time they walked into a supermarket, or a doctor’s surgery or a law firm, that the CCTV camera in the corner is trying to find out who they are, I think that will have a huge impact on what buildings people go into.”

He explained that the technology is expanding all the time, adding that you may be queuing to pay for groceries and a CCTV camera could be “literally scanning who you are”.

Mr Pickles said the only way the systems can be ethically deployed is if consumers opt in to have their image stored and their behaviour tracked, rather than there being no choice in the matter.


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