Apr 24, 2023
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MPs object to Frasers' use of facial recognition tech in its stores - report

Apr 24, 2023

​Politicians and privacy groups have criticised Frasers Group for the use of “live facial recognition” cameras in the massive retailer's British store chains.


Around 50 MPs and peers and three privacy groups said the use of the technology is “invasive and discriminatory”, urging it to end the use of the cameras across the country, reported The Guardian.

A combined letter to the group said: “Live facial recognition [LFR] technology has well-evidenced issues with privacy, inaccuracy, and race and gender discrimination. LFR inverts the vital democratic principle of suspicion preceding surveillance and treats everyone who passes the camera like a potential criminal."

It continued: “The technology obtains the facial biometric data – information as sensitive as a fingerprint – of every customer entering the store to check them against your privately created watchlist. This is the equivalent of performing an identity check on every single customer.”

The letter, which was coordinated and co-signed by the privacy groups Big Brother Watch, Liberty and Privacy International, argued that the tech is “inaccurate and ineffective”. 

“To date, 87% of alerts generated by the Metropolitan police’s own live facial recognition system have been inaccurate. The poor accuracy of LFR technology also disproportionately impacts people of colour and women.”

The group’s two key brands, Sports Direct and upscale fashion retailer Flannels, were using the cameras in at least 27 stores in March, the report claimed.

Frasers Group has yet to comment but a spokesperson previously said surveillance is carried out to “ensure the safety of our staff and to help prevent theft”.

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