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World's Third-Largest Supermarket Chain to Implement Technology That's 'Like Something Out of Minority Report


"There's a huge consent issue there."

Tesco's store-Bury St.Edmunds. (Credit: Telegraph)

Tesco, the world's third-largest supermarket chain, will install high-tech screens to scan customers' faces in order to target them with individualized advertising that matches its customers' age and gender, AFP reports.

Also the largest retailer in all of Britain, Tesco will install the screens at the tills of its 450 British petrol stations, according to Amscreen, the digital advertising firm that developed the technology.

Tesco's store-Bury St.Edmunds. (Credit: Telegraph)

Even Amscreen's chief executive, Simon Sugar, conceded that the technology is "like something out of 'Minority Report.'"

However, he is apparently willing to overlook that in order to "change the face of British retail." He told The Grocer Magazine that the company wants to "expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible."

AFP has more on the technology that will scan customers' faces:

The screens detect the faces of shoppers approaching the tills and identify their gender and approximate age. They then display adverts targeted at that demographic group.

Privacy campaigners blasted Tesco's decision to use the "OptimEyes" technology and called on the retailer to inform customers when they are being scanned in this way.

"Scanning customers as they walk through the store without customers ever giving permission for them to be scanned in that way... There's a huge consent issue there," said Nick Pickles of the campaign group Big Brother Watch.

But Amscreen insisted its technology is "non-intrusive" and "meets with privacy and data protection requirements".

The screens apparently don't identify shoppers, rather they "estimate whether a person is male or female and which one of three age groups they belong to."

A spokeswoman also told AFP that the screens "do not use eyeball scanners, facial recognition or identify individual customers in any way."

Would you be OK with the technology at your preferred retailer?


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