Several Major Australian Stadiums Reportedly Using Facial Recognition Technology

Several Major Australian Stadiums Reportedly Using Facial Recognition Technology

A report from consumer advocacy organisation Choice has revealed that several major Australian stadiums may be using facial recognition technology – and that visitors have largely been left in the dark about it.

Last year, a Choice investigation found that facial recognition technology was being used at specific Kmart, Bunnings Warehouse stores, with it noted in the fine print that these stores were trialling the technology. Since that report, The Good Guys scrapped the trial of the tech, and then later, Bunnings Warehouse and Kmart announced that stores would halt the use of the tech. The Privacy Commission also announced an investigation into it. Not to say the tech is limited to these places, though.

Now, Choice is back with another investigation into the technology, which analyses the faces of visitors.

“I think one of the main problems from a consumer’s perspective is that they don’t know when facial recognition is being used, and then when they are told that it is being used, it’s very deep in some conditions of entry or privacy policy. They often don’t find out about it until after they’ve already bought a ticket,” Choice’s consumer data advocate Kate Bower said.

“But then even when they do find out, they have no idea what it’s being used for, they’ve got no idea how long their information is stored, how securely it’s stored. The consumers don’t really have a choice.”

While we’re previously reported on the Australian Turf Club using facial recognition (and being proud of it???), Choice has found that, of Australia’s 10 major stadiums, four are using facial-recognition technology, while it’s unclear if two are.

Sydney Cricket Ground, Allianz Stadium, Melbourne Cricket Ground, and Qudos Bank Arena were found to use facial recognition technology, while Accor Stadium, Marvel Stadium, Commbank Stadium, and Optus Stadium do not.

RAC Arena and Suncorp Stadium note in their privacy policies that facial recognition technology may be used at the venue.

A spokesperson for Venues NSW, the operators of the Sydney Cricket Ground and Allianz stadiums, told Choice that they “abide strictly with our privacy obligations. We do not monetise facial recognition data”.

Meanwhile, Qudos Bank Arena stores images for “a period of time”, according to the Choice report.

Choice notes that there is a need for reform in the facial recognition space, and spoke to Lauren Perry from the UTS Human Technology Institute about the tech.

“I think what we really need to see is a business being more transparent and leading by example, but we also need stronger regulators to be able to hold them to account and to actually give some clear guidelines about what is a safe and responsible use of this technology, which can be incredibly harmful and invasive and also comes with high level of security risk,” Perry said to Choice.

You can read the Choice report here.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.