7-Eleven Found to Collect Customer Facial Imagery Without Consent Breaching Customer Privacy
(Photo : Image from Commons.Wikipedia.com) 7-Eleven Found to Collect Customer Facial Imagery Without Consent Breaching Customer Privacy

7-Eleven was found to breach customer privacy by collecting facial imagery without asking for consent. The breach was found by Australia's information commissioner who noted that 7-Eleven collected sensitive biometric information without providing adequate notice or consent.

7-Eleven Collects Facial Images

According to ZDNet, from June 2020 up to August 2021, 7-eleven decided to conduct surveys that required customers to manually fill out information on tablets along with built-in cameras. These particular tablets, which were installed in a massive 700 stores, captured customers' very own facial images at two different points during the whole survey-taking process.

This is when individuals would first engage with the tablet or even after they have completed the survey. After officially becoming aware of the particular activity in July 2020, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner or OAIC which commended an investigation into 7-Eleven's survey.

Facial Image Collection

During the official OAIC investigation, it was found that 7-Eleven actually stored the certain facial images on tablets for about 20 seconds before actually uploading them to a certain secure server that is hosted in Australia within the Microsoft Azure infrastructure. It was noted that the facial images were then able to retain on the server, algorithmic representation, for seven days in order to allow 7-Eleven to identify and even correct the issue, reprocess survey responses, according to the convenience store giant.

It was noted that facial images were uploaded to the server as algorithmic representations otherwise known as "faceprints" that were then compared with some other faceprints to exclude certain responses that 7-Eleven believed might be genuine. The OAIC noted that the store also used the given personal information in order to better understand the demographic profile of those customers who completed the survey.

7-Eleven Claims It Received Consent

7-Eleven even claimed that it had been able to receive consent from customers who decided to participate in the survey as it provided a notice on its official website. The notice stated that the store could collect photographic or biometric information from certain users. The survey resided on 7-Eleven's website. 

In the United States, the White House is looking at a new "bill of rights" in order to protect citizens against AI technology. Public comments coming from AI developers, experts, and the affected are now needed.

Read Also: Could the Metaverse Become a Successor to the Internet? Here's How It Might Turn Out

1.6 Million Survey Responses Completed

In March 2021, it was noted that approximately 1.6 million survey responses had actually been completed. Australia's Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner, Angelene Falk, determined that this whole large-scale collection of sensitive biometric information breached Australia's official privacy laws. The UK has also ruled that AI cannot set forth its patents or have an invention or an innovation named after them.

It was noted that it was not reasonably necessary for the purpose of being able to understand and improve customers' very own in-store experience. In Australia, it was stated that an organization is not allowed to collect sensitive information about an individual unless given consent is provided.

Related Article: Artificial Intelligence Is Being Groomed To Identify Climate 'Tipping Points'

This article is owned by Tech Times

Written by Urian B.

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.