I recently read an article about Kroger’s lucrative data business, which noted that the company had collected “35+ petabytes of first-party customer data.” This is 66 percent larger than the Library of Congress’s entire digital collection. The data is sold to third-party brands and advertisers seeking highly detailed information on customer behavior. Kroger has admitted that facial recognition cameras are also used in “select locations.” Albertsons has also been known to use facial recognition technology, along with many other major retailers. What they are doing with this biometric information remains unclear. We do know that using them for security can lead to false positives exacerbated by built-in biases (an NYU student famously sued Apple a few years ago for wrongly identifying him as a thief).
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