How Reuters investigated RIte Aid’s use of facial recognition

How Reuters investigated RIte Aid’s use of facial recognition

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Jeffrey Dastin

Jeffrey Dastin, technology correspondent for Reuters, explained how he investigated drug store chain Rite Aid and its use of facial recognition cameras in its stores.

Here is an excerpt:

 “I had wanted to deeply explore an example of facial recognition’s use in the United States. I also had an interest in how the private sector was applying the software, when I heard Rite Aid had a program underway. Early conversations in which sources described one vendor’s links to China and problems with another supplier’s system led me to keep reporting.”

Dastin shares some of the challenges during the reporting process: “I wanted to hear the perspective of a customer who was affected by the technology, but finding someone was a challenge: Rite Aid staff often did not recall the names of people they said they misidentified, and shoppers typically did not know that facial recognition was at work.”

On the overall takeaway, Dastin says, “This story describes facial recognition’s use over an eight-year period, including the drawbacks and benefits ascribed to it. After Reuters shared all its findings with Rite Aid before publication, the company said it had ended the program. I hope the story’s facts inform the public about the technology as conversations continue about whether to regulate it.”

Read more here.