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Answers Needed to Questions about Biometric Data in Unattended Retail

Kiosk Marketplace

Biometric identification holds a lot of promise for unattended retail, but the debate over what companies should do to protect customers' personal privacy has only begun. How soon the unattended retail industry will be able to use the technology's benefits, such as allowing customers to place and pay for orders in seconds, remains uncertain.

Most players in the unattended retail space recognize the benefits of fingerprint and facial recognition.


Facial regulation already restricted

Personal privacy laws governing facial recognition at the state level are already stricter than fingerprint recognition at the present time, according to Jeff Rosenthal, an attorney for Blank Rome LLP in Philadelphia, who has followed the subject.

The Washington Privacy Act, which was introduced by Washington legislators at the start of 2020, imposes stringent limitations on the use of facial recognition, Rosenthal told this website.


What companies can do now

Rosenthal offered the following suggestions for companies incorporating facial recognition into their business activities:

First, he said companies should begin by ensuring they are being transparent about how they collect, use, store and dispose of "facial template data" — data measurements used to create a mathematical formula that is compared to the individual's face to confirm his or her identity. Next, Rosenthal said companies should provide advance notice to consumers about the use of facial recognition technology before acquiring any facial template data.

The next step Rosenthal recommended is for companies to obtain consent from consumers before collecting any data derived from facial recognition technology. Then, he said companies should obtain written consent from consumers whose data the company will collect, use and store — prior to capturing such data. Finally, he said that companies should implement effective data security safeguards to protect all data captured and stored through facial recognition technology from improper disclosure, access or acquisition.

“Answers Needed to Questions about Biometric Data in Unattended Retail,” by Elliot Maras, was published in Kiosk Marketplace on March 4, 2020.

This article was reprinted in Vending Times on March 5, 2020.