Woolworths responds to 'shocked' customer's self-service claim

Yahoo News Staff
·3-min read

A Woolworths customer has questioned the supermarket giant over their use of cameras at self-serve checkouts.

The customer posted two separate tweets several months apart about the same issue, calling out the supermarket over concerns for her privacy.

In the first tweet from October last year, she filmed herself as she purchased groceries after she noticed the top right hand screen was reflecting her movement.

“Hello Woolworths, can you tell me:

• why you’re filming my face up-close while I do my shopping,

• where you’re storing this footage,

• if you’re linking it to my CC details,

• if you’re using facial recognition software to identify and/or track me?”

Woolworths confirmed they are trialling news security technology at self serve checkouts
A customer confronted Woolworths after she noticed she could see herself in the self-serf checkouts (right). Source: AAP/Twitter

The customer also said she was concerned that in order to find out about the cameras, she had to remove a promotional piece of cardboard covering her reflection.

“Would also love to know why I had to move a cardboard promotional sticker from the corner of my screen to reveal this footage of my face, and why there was the same cardboard sticker covering every other self-serve checkout,” she wrote.

Several followers were upset by the thought of being filmed while they shopped and immediately replied with backlash toward Woolworths.

“Wow, well spotted. Those bastards. How dare they,” one person replied.

“Shop somewhere else. The only message they will understand,” another person commented.

The video the customer spotted is part of a security trial that Woolworths announced in April and was covered by Yahoo News Australia.

“We know the vast majority of our customers do the right thing at our self-serve checkouts.

“This is a new security measure we're trialling for those that don’t,” a Woolworths spokesperson said at the time to Yahoo News Australia.

New tweet calls out ‘changes’ to Woolies privacy policy

The customer posted another tweet on Wednesday after Woolworths emailed an updated Privacy Policy to its members.

“Well I am positively SHOCKED to learn that Woolworths - after strenuous insistence that these cameras were not recording or identifying individuals - now ARE using these cameras to record, store, identify and track their customers using facial recognition software!” she tweeted.

Woolworths were quick to reply, assuring the customer there was no recording taking place at the self-serve registers.

“The image at checkouts is just a reflection on the screen and is not recorded. That hasn’t changed. Like most retailers, we do have CCTV in our stores, which is why we make reference to cameras in the updated privacy policy… We can also confirm that we do not use facial recognition of any type,” a Woolworths spokesperson replied on Twitter.

When the customer asked for confirmation in October that the cameras at the self-serve checkouts were not storing her information, Woolworths replied.

“This is a reflection of yourself, shown only on the screen in front of you. If you do not wish to be a part of the trial, you are welcome to use the staffed checkouts.”

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