UK’s largest supermarket uses Facial Recognition causing security and privacy concerns


UK’s largest supermarket chain ‘Co-Op Food’ has rolled a new tech on the CCTV surveillance cameras installed on its premises that keeps a track and record of its shoppers without their consent- triggering privacy and security concerns among its customers.

The Co-Operative Group retail business of United Kingdom has recorded faces of its visitors on Hikvision cameras that are manufactured in China that has caused the UK’s Ministry of Defense take a note of the situation and do a follow up with the former.

According to the sources reporting to our Cybersecurity Insiders, Hikvision cameras are banned in United States as former president Donald Trump blacklisted them on a trade list of North America.

As Co-Op is using the same brand cameras to monitor its customers with a live Facial Recognition(FR) technology, privacy advocates argue that such malpractices will be termed as illegal by the government and so the rollout of the software across 35 stores operating on the South of England will be banned by the government as it is posing as a great threat to national security.

IPVM, known as an encyclopedia of Video Surveillance Information, was asked to investigate the incident has confirmed that 9 of the total 35 stores of Co-Op were using Facewatch software to track down its customers and to create their shopping profile.

Facewatch is having a reputation of storing its customer data for over 2 years and is believed to run an analysis of what customers were preferring and buying in the end, that can help ad companies and product manufacturers get a clear picture of the buying culture and its evolution in recent times.

Fraser Sampson, the Biometrics and Surveillance Commissioner of England and Wales, stated in an interview that any unethical practices taken up by companies regarding surveillance and FR will be prosecuted severely.

Mr. Sampson said that they are two issued to be investigated in this case. First is whether the use of Hikvision surveillance cameras was logically taking place and the second is related to the ethical practice of using the FR technology with true responsibility.

Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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