Facial recognition systems are more commonplace than some might think, and several companies across Australia already use the technology to identify customers. It turns out that casinos are no exception, as several land-based gambling operations across Australia have installed this tech that not everyone is happy about.
Australia’s biggest hotel and drinks business, Endeavour Group, announced in October 2021 that it would use facial recognition to identify problem gamblers. Star Entertainment has also confirmed that it employs the technology at its Sydney casino to prevent entry by excluded gamblers.
Facial recognition has drawn fire in the US, where the systems have drawn accusations of racial bias, and some states are even considering imposing bans. Australia, however, has not had the technology for long and is still discovering its limitations and issues.
Australian retailers like K-Mart and The Good Guys claim that facial recognition technology is a loss prevention measure that is also used to “enhance” customer experiences. However, some groups have suggested that it is being employed for more nefarious uses. The consumer advocacy group Choice has argued that these systems could be used to violate individuals’ privacy and manipulate sensitive data.
As major casino operator Star faces a barrage of criminal accusations, it has stated that facial recognition could be used to ensure it adheres better to laws and regulations. However, Critics of the company have pointed out that both physical and online customers are insufficiently advised of the monitoring.
When the Australian Information Commissioner reviewed the Clearview AI commercial face recognition app, which police have employed, it was found that it infringes on Australians’ privacy. Clearview was subsequently instructed to stop harvesting images of Australians and to delete its existing collection.
Former Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Ed Santow is pioneering the development of legislation for facial recognition technology in Australia to address the current lack of existing laws that prevent misuse of the technology.
“One-to-many facial recognition, something that can identify people in a crowd, is still very experimental and still subject to very high rates of error. Even the best one-to-many facial recognition is much more prone to error than probably anyone you know who isn’t blind,” Santow said in an interview.