MYNORTHWEST NEWS

‘Look at camera for entry’: Tacoma store using facial recognition technology

May 21, 2019, 9:16 AM | Updated: 10:50 am

KIRO 7 has learned the Jacksons Food Stores location at South 38th Street and Pacific Avenue in Tacoma is using facial recognition technology that’s designed to help prevent thefts and robberies by controlling who’s allowed into the store.

Smile! Cops are now using facial recognition

A sign at the front of the store reads, “Look at camera for entry” and “Facial Recognition Technology In Use.” An automated voice tells approaching customers through a mounted speaker to look up at the camera.

KIRO 7 first learned about the facial recognition technology being used there from a customer, a regular at the store, who posted about it on Facebook after stopping by the 24-hour location at night last week.

“Tonight, I was confronted with a whole new Jackson’s,” she wrote. “You had to stare at the camera before they let you in.”

The woman said she was told by clerks that the technology is being used to cut down on thefts from the store.

“Sometimes I would walk out of there, jaw to the ground, at the in-your-face theft,” she wrote.

The sign out front said the facial recognition system is designed by Blue Line Technology.

The company said on its website that the technology is designed to help prevent thefts and robberies. Pictures of offenders can be put into the system and entry will be blocked if they show up at the store again.

We reached out to Jacksons Food Stores several times Monday to learn more about how the technology is being used, at what locations and at what hours. We have not yet heard back with details from the company.

A KIRO 7 crew drove to other nearby 24-hour Jacksons Food Stores but did not see the same signage posted regarding facial recognition technology.

We spoke with customers outside the store Monday who had mixed opinions on its use and privacy concerns.

“I walked in, there was a machine saying ‘hey look up for the camera,’” said Burnis Herring. “It caught me off guard.”

Herring said he wasn’t a fan of the technology.

“I think it just gives them the right to be prejudice towards people if they don’t like them,” said Herring.

Other people agreed.

“Seeing it in places like China right now, especially; it’s becoming like a social credit score thing and that’s, I think, the scariest part of it,” said Olivia Langen.

Still, some customers didn’t mind.

“I don’t think I have anything to hide,” said Cardie Yarbor. “It kind of messes with your privacy, you know, and then the other hand, they’re just trying to do everything they can to stop people from stealing from the store.”

By Michael Spears, KIRO 7 TV

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

15 hours ago

Photo: Firefighters responded after a person called 911 to report smoke coming from an Edmonds home...

Julia Dallas

Man dies after Edmonds home catches fire

Firefighters responded after a person called 911 to report smoke coming from an Edmonds home and sounds of a baby crying inside.

22 hours ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

2 days ago

Image: A Bellingham Police Department vehicle is seen on a city street in 2015....

Julia Dallas

Bellingham sixth grader allegedly punched by man in racist attack

A Bellingham 6th-grader was allegedly attacked by a man who was spewing racist comments during a school field trip on Wednesday.

2 days ago

Photo: Starting this fall, students at Seattle's Hamilton International Middle School will have to ...

Julia Dallas

Seattle school to say goodbye to cell phones in the fall

Starting this fall, students at Seattle's Hamilton International Middle School will have to lock up their cell phones during school hours.

2 days ago

Image: A dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is displayed at the Neighborcare Health cli...

Sam Campbell and Steve Coogan

Measles case reported at West Seattle clinic; know the symptoms

A child, now confirmed to have measles, went to the Franciscan Health Urgent Care clinic in West Seattle, officials said in a release Friday.

2 days ago

‘Look at camera for entry’: Tacoma store using facial recognition technology