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Dori: Tacoma business has the right to base entry on facial recognition

A Tacoma convenience store is using a facial recognition camera to combat shoplifting. (KIRO 7 TV)

We know how much theft there is all around our region. In Tacoma, as our news partners at KIRO 7 TV reported, a Jackson’s convenience store has gone to the length of putting in a facial recognition camera to prevent shoplifting.

The way it works is, they keep their doors locked, and to get in, you have to look at the facial recognition camera. In their database, they have photos of known shoplifters, and if you are one of those people, the door will stay locked. But if you look at the camera and are not in the database, you will be permitted to enter.

It is a private business. As a private business, they are free to do this. And as a customer, you are free to choose not to shop there if you are not comfortable with it.

We’re being watched and listened to. We already knew that. Your Alexa is listening to your private conversations. Every website you visit adds to this massive database of information about you that’s out there. We are being viewed by cameras hundreds, if not thousands of times a day.

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But I draw a bold line of distinction between private companies doing this and government doing this. I do not want government to put GPS tracking devices in our vehicles so that it knows where we are every second of every day. I have the freedom to not engage in commerce with private businesses.

It’s all about the private sector versus the public. And when it comes to the private, I’m alright with facial recognition technology.

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