Tampa Tech Wire - News and Technology From Around The Bay                  

Rite Aid Enters FTC Settlement: Commits to 5-Year Ban on Facial Recognition

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp
Rite Aid, facing FTC scrutiny, agrees to a 5-year ban on misused facial recognition tech due to racial bias, database flaws, and customer privacy concerns. #AIregulation #FTCSettlement

Rite Aid Agrees to Five-Year Ban on Facial Recognition Technology: FTC Settlement Highlights Misuse and Racial Bias

In a groundbreaking agreement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Rite Aid pledges to refrain from employing facial recognition technology for surveillance over the next five years. The FTC, expressing worries about the technology’s misuse and its adverse impact on consumers, raised concerns during the settlement. Between 2012 and 2020, Rite Aid implemented AI-driven facial recognition to combat shoplifting. However, the FTC alleged that the system incorrectly identified individuals, leading to a “disproportionate impact on people of color.”

Rite Aid’s utilization of AI-powered, face-scanning technology aimed to identify individuals on surveillance footage across multiple stores, with the goal of curbing shoplifting and addressing customer-related issues. The FTC contends that due to insufficient safeguards and the technology’s history of inaccuracies and racial bias, Rite Aid’s staff wrongfully accused customers of theft.

Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stressed the importance of the order, stating, “Rite Aid’s reckless use of facial surveillance systems left its customers facing humiliation and other harms.” He emphasized that the order signifies the Commission’s dedication to shielding the public from unfair biometric surveillance and data security practices.

Related News: Navigating Generative AI Adoption: Strategies for Success in Corporate Environments

As per the FTC, Rite Aid’s system utilized facial recognition to scan customers upon entering the store, comparing their faces with an extensive database of suspected or confirmed shoplifters. The system prompted staff to closely monitor a shopper if a match was found. However, the FTC pointed out issues with the database, filled with low-quality images, resulting in unreliable matches and unwarranted actions by staff.

Federal officials criticized Rite Aid for failing to inform customers about the use of facial recognition technology and instructing employees to keep it confidential. The FTC alleged that Rite Aid collaborated with two unnamed companies to build a “persons of interest” database containing tens of thousands of images.

Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, emphasized the significance of the order, stating, “Rite Aid’s reckless use of facial surveillance systems left its customers facing humiliation and other harms.” He added that the order demonstrates the Commission’s commitment to protecting the public from unfair biometric surveillance and data security practices.

According to the FTC, Rite Aid’s system utilized facial recognition to scan customers upon entering the store, comparing their faces with an extensive database of suspected or confirmed shoplifters. The system alerted staff to monitor a shopper closely if a match was found. However, the FTC highlighted issues with the database, filled with low-quality images, leading to unreliable matches and unwarranted actions by staff.

Federal officials criticized Rite Aid for not informing customers about the use of facial recognition technology and instructing employees to keep it confidential. The FTC alleged that Rite Aid collaborated with two unnamed companies to build a “persons of interest” database containing tens of thousands of images.

Rite Aid clarified that court approval is necessary for the FTC settlement due to its ongoing bankruptcy case initiated in October. The company stated, “The allegations relate to a facial recognition technology pilot program the company deployed in a limited number of stores,” asserting that they ceased using the technology more than three years ago.

The FTC’s enforcement highlights the decentralized nature of AI regulation in the US, as mentioned by Kjell Carlsson, head of data science strategy and evangelism at Domino Data Lab.

He emphasized the contrast with the EU, where consistent regulations and substantial fines are assured through the EU AI Act. In the US, a patchwork of regulations with relatively minor penalties, primarily focused on data misuse rather than AI itself, creates a challenging regulatory landscape.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Thanks for subscribing!

Newsletter

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Thanks for subscribing!

Newsletter

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Latest Jobs

Recent News

Popular

Blog Subscriber Form