7-Eleven Breached Customers' Privacy by Collecting Face Images Without their Permission

7-Eleven Breached Customers’ Privacy by Collecting Face Images Without their Permission

In Australia, 7-Eleven was found to have violated customers’ privacy by collecting sensitive biometric information without proper notice or consent, according to the country’s information commissioner.

7-Eleven conducted surveys from June 2020 – August 2021, requiring consumers to provide information about tablets with built-in cameras. These tablets were put in 700 stores, and these locations also served as a hub for survey-based face picture collection.

Customers’ face pictures were collected two times throughout the survey-taking process: when the individual initially engaged with the tablet and after they finished the survey on these tablets.

After learning about this matter, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) ordered an inquiry into 7-Eleven’s survey.

The OAIC discovered throughout the inquiry that 7-Eleven kept the face photos on tablets for about 20 seconds before transferring them to a secure server housed in Australia within the Microsoft Azure infrastructure.

The face pictures were then stored on the server for seven days as an algorithmic representation, allowing 7-Eleven to discover and fix any errors, as well as reprocess survey results.

According to the OAIC, 7-Eleven also employed personal information to determine the demographic profile of consumers who completed the survey.

7-Eleven stated that consumers who took part in the poll gave their consent since it posted a notice on its website saying that 7-Eleven may gather photographic or biometric information from them. The survey may be found on the 7-Eleven website.

Nearly 1.6 million survey replies had been completed as of March 2021. In Australia, it is illegal for a company to gather sensitive information about an individual without their agreement.

As a result of the ruling, 7-Eleven has been forced to stop collecting facial photos and faceprints as part of the consumer feedback system. In addition, 7-Eleven has also been ordered to destroy all of the faceprints it has gathered.

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