Rite Aid used facial recognition in secret across hundreds of its stores

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Drugstore chain Rite Aid secretly deployed facial recognition software across a network of security cameras in hundreds of locations in the US, according to a new investigation from Reuters published on Tuesday. The company had been doing so for more than eight years, and it only recently stopped using the technology, it told Reuters, following a “larger industry conversation” around facial recognition and the grave concern over privacy risks and racial discrimination it presents.

Yet, Reuters says Rite Aid initially defended its use of facial recognition as a deterrent against theft and violent crime, having nothing to do with race. The investigation found that not to be entirely true. “In areas where people of color, including Black…

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