Tuesday 1 April 2008

Shopping Centres may scan for crims

Lend Lease shopping centre group, the managers of Cairns Central, are believed to be planning to roll out face recognition technology to scan for known shoplifters and criminals.

Once implemented, this would apply to all customers who enter their centres across Australia.

More than $2 million a year in lost stock alone at Cairns Central, has sparked the investment in this preventative system.

It's believed that the software, manufactured by ShopPoint, has developed the engineering for Lend Lease, which also operate in the Asia Pacific, Americas, UK, Europe and the Middle East. The technology will be in place in 70% of casinos in Las Vegas by the end of 2008.

Lend Lease have begin testing the software, for the last three months. Shoppers' face and eye retinas would be compared with a database of "known criminals." It is expected that the Federal Police would need to support the sharing of data.

A Cairns Central music store owner, who wished to remain anonymous, told CairnsBlog that he would welcome the service. He said that more than 30 undetected shoplifter incidents are discovered every week in his store. "It costs us thousands every week," he said.

Serial shoplifters, and other known offenders, would be identifield and banned from Cairns Central if this technology was available to store management.

Professor Alvaro Cassinelli, from Ishikawa-Namiki Laboratory, Physics and Computing at University of Tokyo has helped create the software that is being used by retail expert ShopPoint.

Cassinelli says that the ID face scanning software has been used in a number of department stores in Tokyo for the last year. "It is now ready for a wider commercial application," he says. "WalMart, Virgin MegaStore and HMV in the USA are about to roll out the technology."

It is believed that Cairns Central tenants pay some of the highest retail rentals per sq meter in Queensland. There is also a higher rate of stock loss than any shopping centre in the State, due to the volume of inter-state and overseas 'transient' visitors.

Civil libertarian groups have expressed outrage about the planned roll out of the so-called database optical scanning of shopping centre customers. A spokesperson for Dean Prail, CLA's media officer said that they would seek legal advice and seek urgent talks with the Federal communications minister. "This should not happen under a Labor Government's watch," she said defiantly.

A source from Lend Lease said that the process would "probably only take about 5 seconds, and would not cause any discomfort."

Both the Dexus Property Group, who manage leasing at Smithfield Centre, and Centre Manager Sheldon Mulla, did not return calls to discuss the subject yesterday.

The jury is out as far as we are concerned.


Anonymous said...

This becomes a very slippery slope that slides towards UK Nannystate or 1984'esk Orwellian style big brother states.

I don't like it.

Anonymous said...

If people don't like it. They will vote with their feet. It's as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Which rather neatly demonstrates, Michael, that the public have been conditioned to anticipate almost any conceivable any loss of civil liberties - and to react with a behavioural spectrum ranging from expressing minor annoyance to gruff support.

Anonymous said...

So there is a glitch in the software system, and you're matched with Glorinda Bunker, worlds worst shoplifter.....Oh what a nice day out you're gonna have......

Anonymous said...

Another April Fools joke perhaps Mike ??