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Your Favorite Stores Could Be Tracking You With Facial Recognition(Racked)

Photo: Steffi Loos/Getty Images. Photo source from the Racked.

The article first appeared on the Racked.

It’s no secret that customers who shop in stores are being watched. Whether it’s a big-box retailer like Target or a luxury boutique like Chanel, stores have overhead cameras that record shoppers to make sure no one is stealing.

But what if your face is constantly being surveyed through a system that’s looking for criminals? As facial recognition technology becomes more advanced, and more accessible, an increasing number of stores are turning to facial recognition technology to catch shoplifters. Per to the National Retail Federation, retail companies lose about $48.9 billion annually because of theft.

According to a report from McClatchy DC, many stores are turning to a California-based company called FaceFirst for their facial recognition needs. When reached for comment, FaceFirst said it could not list its clients to Racked because of “customer NDAs and confidentiality agreements.” In a promotional video on its website, though, FaceFirst says its retail clients include big-box stores, department stores, grocery stores, and pharmacies, and that it works with many Fortune 500 companies.

Companies that use such software upload photos of people they want to watch, like customers who’ve already shoplifted from their stores, disgruntled former employees, or persons of interest who can be found on local watch lists. FaceFirst’s technology promises to know “the moment a shoplifter enters your store” and says brands that have used its services have seen a 34 percent reduction in theft.

Read more on the Racked.

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