Waterloo machines sneakily scanned faces for vending convenience without permission.

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  • Students at the University of Waterloo discovered facial recognition technology in vending machines without consent.
  • Former Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Ann Cavoukian, called the unauthorized use of the technology “completely unacceptable.”

Students at the University of Waterloo were surprised to find out that facial recognition technology was being used in vending machines on campus without their consent. The error message on a malfunctioning snack dispenser revealed the use of the technology, which was monitoring students’ movements and purchases. Former Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Ann Cavoukian, expressed concern over the lack of consent and potential privacy violations. The company behind the vending machines, Invenda, claims their technology is compliant with EU laws, but it is unclear if it aligns with Canadian privacy regulations. This incident follows a similar case in British Columbia where Canadian Tire used facial recognition technology without customer consent. The University of Waterloo has pledged to remove the machines and disable the technology in the meantime, with students taking their own measures to cover the camera lens.

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