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Woolworths, Coles, Aldi: No plans to use facial recognition technology

We reveal the retailers not using facial recognition in their stores, as Bunnings and Kmart pause using the controversial technology in response.

man with facial recognition scan on face
Last updated: 24 July 2022
Fact-checked

Fact-checked

Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Update 25/07/22 3:00pm

An earlier version of this article stated that Bunnings and Kmart refused to stop using facial recognition technology. It has been updated to reflect their decision to pause use following mounting pressure from CHOICE supporters and extensive community backlash. 

In June, a CHOICE investigation revealed that Bunnings, Kmart and The Good Guys were using controversial and invasive facial recognition technology in some of their stores for the stated purposes of loss prevention, safety and security.

Australia's privacy watchdog, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), has launched an investigation into Kmart and Bunnings 'personal information handling practices' following our complaint. The Good Guys have already stopped using facial recognition while the investigation is underway, but Kmart and Bunnings had refused to back down until now. 

Our recent poll of 16,000 CHOICE supporters showed that 80% of people want Kmart and Bunnings to stop using facial recognition. We've heard from many people who'd like to know which retailers are not using facial recognition technology and have no plans to introduce it, so that they can shop knowing their biometric information is not being captured by facial recognition cameras. 

We contacted the 25 retailers in our initial investigation again to ask them to commit to not introducing facial recognition in their stores. While some left our calls unanswered, 17 retailers, including major supermarket chains, Woolworths, Coles and Aldi, agreed to the statement: 

We are not using facial recognition in stores and we have no plans to introduce it.

This commitment will be widely welcomed by shoppers, who've made it clear in our supporter poll and the many emails and calls our team have received, that use of such invasive biometric technology is not welcome in retail stores. The full list of retailers who are not using facial recognition technology in stores is below. 

Retailers who might use facial recognition in store 

Kmart
Kmart paused facial recognition in stores.
Might Use
Bunnings
Bunnings paused facial recognition in stores.
Might Use
The Good Guys  
The Good Guys paused facial recognition in stores.
Might Use

Retailers not using facial recognition

Woolworths logo
Woolworths is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Coles logo
Coles is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Aldi logo
Aldi is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Target logo
Target is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Big W logo
Big W is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Myer logo
Myer is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
David Jones logo
David Jones is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Officeworks logo
Officeworks is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Dan Murphys logo
Dan Murphys is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
BWS logo
BWS is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
First Choice Liquor logo
First Choice Liquor is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Liquorland logo
Liquorland is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Vintage Cellars logo
Vintage Cellars is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Rebel logo
Rebel is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
BCF logo
BCF is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Supercheap Auto logo
Supercheap Auto is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
Macpac logo
Macpac is not using facial recognition in stores.
Not Using
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Stock images: Getty unless otherwise stated.