Swedish Data Protection Authorities are now auditing Anonymous Facial Recognition for retail stores

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Indivd has now submitted for an audit (sw. Förhandssamråd) to the Swedish Data Protection Authorities regarding the commercial use of the company’s well-known unique technology for anonymous facial recognition in Swedish retail stores.
– Retail stores are today in a very vulnerable position following the ravages of the Coronavirus and the growing competition from e-commerce. Retail stores need new modern tools to survive, says Fredrik Hammargården, co-founder and Head of Commercialization at Indivd.

Indivd is fundamentally against any form of facial recognition because it violates the integrity of individuals.

– We dislike facial recognition. We dislike the society that this new technology could create. We agree with the European Commission that this development can be dangerous and needs to be carefully controlled and regulated. At the same time, we are aware that it is a technology that creates opportunities if used properly, says Fredrik Hammargården, co-founder and head of Commercialization at Indivd.

Anonymizing image data from cameras

It is with this background, Indivd believes it is justified to use this technology, as long as it is done legally and is ethically defensible.

– That is why we have spent the last three years gathering our and others’ shared skills and experiences to build a privacy-friendly technology. We have worked hard to create a technology where it is possible to register images from cameras, and directly anonymize the images in order to ultimately obtain the insights that retail stores lack and is in great need of. We have also successfully succeeded in this and we have chosen to call this technique for facial anonymization, says Fredrik Hammargården and continues:

So far, we have identified the most valuable insight for retail stores and validated that Indivd is the only one who can deliver them. Insights that explain how attractive the store is, how well it converts and how well it retains visitors over time.

Life before and after Corona

Retail stores have for a long time been in great need of renewal and change in the uneven competition with e-commerce. The situation has worsened considerably and became immediately acute as a result of the Coronavirus’s effects in our communities.

– The stores simply need to know more about their visitors in order to improve their strategies and reduce their risks. Against this background, a large number of large and leading retail chains and malls are very interested in trying out Indivd’s new technology for facial anonymization. The Swedish Trade Federation (sw. Svensk Handel) are also following us closely and support us in our work. But first, the Swedish Data Protection Authorities must conduct their audit, says Fredrik Hammargården.

Well prepared

That is why Indivd has spent the past year to carefully prepare an analysis regarding data protection together with several leading lawyers and experts, including IBM Security and Baker McKenzie, the world’s leading law firm.

– We now feel confident enough in our technology to submit a request for an audit to the Swedish Data Protection Authority. We feel that we have done everything we can to be as prepared as possible for the final and decisive assessment, whose outcome will be within 8-14 weeks and will result in either a red card in the form of a direct ban, an orange card in the form of a warning with recommendations for changes, or a green card with the meaning that they have no objection to public use of the technology, says Fredrik Hammargården, adding:

– We think transparency is important and we have deliberately set the ethical bar very high. We are now waiting with excitement for what the Swedish Data Protection Authorities have to say.

Click here to learn more about Indivds insights for retail stores.

For more information contact:

Fredrik Hammargården, Head of Commercialization, 004673 840 65 27, fredrik@indivd.com

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