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STATEMENT: Lower prices are, indeed, just the beginning

June 20, 2022

I am not at all surprised to learn that retail giants Kmart, Bunnings and The Good Guys have been using facial recognition technology to create “face prints” of their customers.

Having worked as a software engineering manager in Seattle for 5 years prior to entering Parliament, I am fully aware of what ‘big data’ is capable of, and what private corporations have been doing with your data for the past decade.

The real culprits are not the retailers, but state and federal Australian governments who have failed to respond to the challenges of information technology with adequate protections for citizens.

The solution is simple: a dedicated ‘data privacy and security act’ like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).

Such an act would provide Australians with certain rights over their own data and prevent governments and private corporations from using it as they please.

The consequences of failing to act are obvious: corporations will use new types of technology to acquire further information about their customers, and potentially share it with other parties.

This isn’t one of those scenarios where Australians can ‘vote with their feet’ and shop elsewhere. If other retailers start using this type of technology, soon there will be nowhere to hide.