Privacy concerns are taking over the retail sector and marketing industry too.
Since February 2014, talks between representatives of the retail and marketing industry and consumer privacy advocates groups have been underway to lay a thorough implementation plan for consumer surveillance.
After more than one year, the coalition of consumer rights advocates walked out of the talks, declaring the end of their venture on early Tuesday.
The goal of the talks was for both sides to reach an agreement on how retailers should implement facial recognition in their businesses without hurting their customers but with giving detailed information to marketers.
Under the auspices of the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the meetings looked after a common goal: an inclusive code of conduct. According to the coalition of privacy advocates during the 16 month of ongoing meeting no agreement could be reached.
On Monday evening the group walked out of talks with the statement issued on Tuesday saying:
“At a base minimum, people should be able to walk down a public street without fear that companies they’ve never heard of are tracking their every movement.”
What exactly is in store for consumers that made the privacy groups walk out and issue a strong statement like the one above is not known. However, the consumer privacy rights advocates consider that there is more they can do to defend privacy outside the industry led forum than from within it.
Alvaro Bedoya, one of the leaders of the privacy advocates groups and the director of Georgetown’s Center on Privacy and Technology explained that while it is already commonplace that companies use facial recognition softwares with the explicit permission of consumers, the boundaries are being pushed to the extent where the same process can be used everywhere without consumers even being aware and no consent being asked for.
For this purpose it was thought that a code of conduct to which companies voluntarily adhere might simmer down the concerns over privacy.
However, the talks took a different path and resulted in representative of consumer privacy advocates urging those they represent to take the serious matter to their state legislator. Retail and marketing industry representative do not plan to back down on the implementation of overarching face recognition systems.
All alone in the meeting room at the point, the companies will continue to develop the awaited code of conduct that addresses concerns over privacy breaches by facial recognition, according to Carl Szabo of NetChoice.
The nine groups that left the table are American Civil Liberties Union, accompanied by Center for Democracy and Technology, the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Electronic Frontier Education, Consumer Federation of America, Common Sense Media and Consumer Watchdog.
Image Source: extremetech.com