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Rein in facial recognition: CHOICE endorses groundbreaking facial recognition law proposal

3 in 4 Australians agree regulation needed to prevent harms caused by facial recognition in retail settings.

Consumer advocate CHOICE has endorsed a proposed new law that would regulate facial recognition and protect consumers from harms caused by the controversial technology. 

The law, developed by the Human Technology Institute at UTS, would address the gaps in Australian privacy legislation that fail to cover the particular risks caused by this technology.

"In June, CHOICE revealed that Kmart, Bunnings, and The Good Guys were using facial recognition technology in their stores. The Australian community was shocked and angered by the use of facial recognition in retail settings. We know that people are really concerned about facial recognition being used in this way," says CHOICE consumer data advocate Kate Bower. 

A nationally representative survey conducted by CHOICE between March and April 2022 found that three in four Australians agreed regulation is needed to protect consumers from harms caused by facial recognition use in retail settings.

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"Australia's privacy law is struggling to keep up with the ever evolving uses of facial recognition technology. We need a specific, fit-for-purpose law to protect consumers from the harms that can occur without proper and clear regulation," says Bower. 

"A dedicated facial recognition technology law, like the one that's been proposed by the Human Technology Institute, would make it clear exactly what is and isn't allowed when businesses want to use this controversial technology." 

The proposed new law would classify the use of facial recognition technology in retail settings as high risk and prohibit it unless exemptions were granted by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

"The use of facial recognition technology will only continue to grow, so we need to regulate it now to prevent further harm to consumers. This is an opportunity for the federal government to implement an innovative, sorely needed piece of legislation to protect the safety and privacy of Australians," says Bower. 

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You can find the report about the proposed new law here:

Sign the petition to rein in facial recognition:

Media contact: 0430 172 669, 

Editor's notes: 

CHOICE Consumer Pulse March 2022 is based on a survey of 1,034 Australian households. Quotas were applied for representations in each age group as well as genders and location to ensure coverage in each state and territory across metropolitan and regional areas. Fieldwork was conducted from the 22nd of March to 7th of April 2022.