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Lack of standards raises concerns about facial ID technology

An increasing number of business owners in Texas and other states are using facial recognition technology to deter shoplifting. Some shop owners are also creating digital records of people entering their places of business based on collected visual data. Other stores are going a step further and using such data to share captured facial images with other businesses within the same network once someone is identified as a security risk.

While some shopkeepers may welcome facial recognition technology, privacy advocates are concerned about possible overreach. The American Civil Liberties Union has also expressed privacy violation concerns. Furthermore, there are no standard regulations in place governing how accurate this technology has to be or how captured data may be used and shared. Since there are no limits, companies may also capture facial images without letting customers know about this practice.

One company that manufactures facial recognition software even brags that it can be used to preemptively put anyone that comes into the camera's view on a watchlist. Manufacturers are also not required to inquire about how clients are using the captured data. When used to flag shoplifters, one company's facial recognition software alerts security when a known offender is spotted entering a store. Because there's an option to share data, that individual could potentially be barred from entering stores they've never been in before. Additionally, people do not have to be convicted of a crime to be placed on security watchlists.

There's also the potential for individuals falsely accused of shoplifting to be placed on watchlists. If a false identification as a shoplifter results in an unjustified arrest, a criminal defense attorney may provide representation or recommend appropriate counter-litigation. A lawyer might also make an attempt to have inaccurate details in a store's facial recognition database removed, especially if a shopper has been unfairly banned from certain businesses.

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