Bunnings makes facial recognition technology a condition of entry at store in Preston, Melbourne

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These sinister changes at Bunnings have left customers fuming

  • Facial recognition notice spotted at Bunnings 
  • Licence plate reading is also being used
  • Both features are in the ‘Conditions of Entry’

Bunnings has quietly introduced facial and number plate recognition technology for customers entering its stores.

A shopper spotted a sign warning Bunnings was using facial recognition software in the store’s  ‘conditions of entry’ sign at a new store in Preston, Melbourne. 

‘CCTV is in use. Facial recognition technology may be used,’ reads the sign shared to Reddit by the Victorian shopper .

‘Number plate recognition technology may be used and images shared with Police for crime prevention and safety purposes,’ it continued.

This is the first time Bunnings has mentioned facial recognition since it suspended use of the technology last year after an investigation was launched over privacy concerns. 

Facial recognition CCTV software has reappeared and number plate readers have made their debut on Bunning's 'Conditions of Entry' signage at Melbourne's Preston store (pictured)

Facial recognition CCTV software has reappeared and number plate readers have made their debut on Bunning’s ‘Conditions of Entry’ signage at Melbourne’s Preston store (pictured)

This is the first time Bunnings has mentioned facial recognition since it suspended use of the technology last year after an investigation was launched over privacy concerns

This is the first time Bunnings has mentioned facial recognition since it suspended use of the technology last year after an investigation was launched over privacy concerns 

Bunnings introduced the controversial technology into stores in 2022, but by June had agreed to temporarily suspend its use after significant backlash from shoppers. 

While the ethics investigation bought on by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) remains underway, the chain is keeping these signs as placeholders and has not resumed using facial recognition. 

‘A few months ago we refreshed conditions of entry signage so it has a consistent look across our store network,’ Bunnings Director of Store Operations Ben Camire told 7News.

‘This signage can be found on existing stores, as well as new stores like Preston in Victoria.

‘The signage includes guidelines for customers wishing to bring their pets in store and detail on the use of CCTV.’

The new sign which has appeared in Preston is among the first to make mention of number plate reading technology, however. 

Former employees have said that the use of number plates and other identifying features is primarily used by the store’s loss prevention department. 

Secret ‘banned customer’ lists are allegedly compiled regarding known thieves and abusive shoppers who are then monitored by staff upon entry to the store.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Bunnings for comment. 

Number plate recognition is currently used in numerous car parks and retailers across Australia which primarily works to prevent theft and losses. 

Bunnings introduced the controversial technology into stores in 2022, but by June had agreed to temporarily suspend its use after significant backlash from shoppers

Bunnings introduced the controversial technology into stores in 2022, but by June had agreed to temporarily suspend its use after significant backlash from shoppers

Former employees have said that the use of number plates and other identifying features is primarily used by the store's loss prevention department

Former employees have said that the use of number plates and other identifying features is primarily used by the store’s loss prevention department

Posting of the store’s sign to social media on Wednesday drew immediate comment.

‘If I bought a car I would hate to think of being pegged as a thief because of previous owner,’ one person said.  

‘I know we like snags, but seriously, I’d like to be able to go about my daily activities without being spied upon,’ a second said. 

‘I would really like to see a traffic light system mandated,’ another person added. 

‘Green light: no facial recognition. Yellow light: faces checked but not stored. Red: facial recognition for security, marketing, analytics or any other purpose,’ the poster explained. 

‘At least it would be transparent – plus a real big red sign wouldn’t look particularly attractive.’

Others praised the system, which they say will make their shopping experience better so long as the technology is not abused. 

‘Seems like a reasonably proportionate system as long as they don’t start abusing who gets added to the banned customer list,’ a fourth said. 

Post source: The List

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