Fairway grocers in NYC now using facial recognition to profile customers

 The Village Super Market of New York, also known as Fairway grocers, affixed a sign to the doorway of its business recently that notifies customers about a new facial recognition scheme being deployed at the entrance.

From now on, Fairway says it will be collecting, converting, storing, or sharing customers’ “biometric identifier information, which is information that can be used to identify or help identify you,” as a condition of shoppers being allowed inside to make purchases.

“Examples of biometric identifier information are eye scans and voiceprints,” the sign, which appeared at Broadway and West 74th, explains.

When pressed for comment about all this by Patch, Wakefern Food Corporation, the parent company of Fairway, did not respond. However, the company did send a statement about the technology to ILoveTheUpperWestSide, which was the first publication to report about it.

“This technology is helping our stores reduce retail crime, an industry-wide challenge that has increased dramatically over the last few years,” said Karen O’Shea, a spokeswoman for Wakefern. “Only trained asset protection associates use the system, which helps us focus attention on repeat shoplifters.”


Fairway customer says it was “worrying to learn about” the store’s facial recognition efforts

In order to legally use this kind of technology in a store, the owner must post this kind of signage at the entrance. Most customers are likely to overlook it, but all that matters is for it to be present and posted, much like a health rating or safety review certification would be.

Prior to this, a spokesperson from Wakefern confirmed to The New York Times that the Fairway grocery location in Chelsea at 766 Sixth Ave. is also using the same facial recognition technology to try to combat shrinkage.

One person who was shopping at the Upper West Side location when a representative from Patch was present expressed concern about the technology, which this person indicated was “worrying to learn about.”

The irony of this massive switch from mandatory masking to show us your face, or else cannot be overlooked. In a matter of three years, the Big Apple has come full circle from being a medically fascist hellhole to now wanting to see everyone’s faces clearly in the camera in an effort to deter shoplifting.

“Welcome to the CCP-style control state,” one commenter wrote about Fairway’s new facial recognition technology, referring to the Chinese Communist Party and the way things are done over in China.

“The knowledge of this is disturbing,” said someone else. “The fact that too many retail stores that we depend on are going out of business due to out-of-control thievery is much more disturbing.”

“If each affected store lives up to their promise of tight control of the identification process, I think I can live with it. But if they misuse it and falsely identify customers, they will deserve the backlash they will get.”

Another expressed concerns about how the biometric information collected at Fairway will be “shared,” seeing as how the company says it plans to share the data with someone.

“Another good reason to wear a mask when in stores,” said someone else, taking a support approach to masking as a way to preserve one’s anonymity.

“I will no longer be a customer of Fairway because of their use of this technology,” another person expressed, adding that it’s “too invasive” for her liking.

Fairway grocers in NYC now using facial recognition to profile customers Fairway grocers in NYC now using facial recognition to profile customers Reviewed by Your Destination on March 21, 2023 Rating: 5

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