Aug 24th, 2022
4 mins

CCTV Cameras are a great deterrent in preventing theft and physical abuse for our member companies however retailers are being hit for their failure to protect customer and employee privacy in video footage, according to a nationwide survey of retailers from video security and privacy company, Secure Redact.

The survey asked 500 British retailers a range of questions relating to in-store use of video surveillance technology, the visual data privacy of customers, GDPR violations and more between May and June 2022.

It reveals that 43% of brands surveyed reported they had been fined for a violation of video surveillance GDPR legislation. Of these retailers, 37% reported paying an equivalent of 2% of their annual turnover, 30% said the fine amounted to 3% of annual turnover, and 15% said the fine was 45% of annual turnover. Some 33% of those fined had to close stores as a result of enforcement action.

Simon Randall, CEO, Secure Redact, said: “These findings paint a vivid picture — the unstoppable rise of video is meeting the immovable object of privacy regulation, with retailers and shoppers left to pay the price. The rapid increase in mass-surveillance of UK shoppers represents a breach of personal privacy on a colossal scale, and the regulators appear to be clamping down hard.”

The retail sector has been a popular market for AI and analytics in surveillance devices, with technology providing the ability for operators and store managers to pick out ‘hotspot’ areas and improve efficiencies in stock placement and queuing lines.

Similarly, UK retailers surveyed for Secure Redact intend to expand video surveillance technology use, such as wireless CCTV, facial recognition technology, queue monitoring or body cameras in-store. Approximately 94% of survey respondents already use at least one of these technologies, and all said they intend to use them more in future, highlighting that many companies are looking to use video surveillance for more than just security purposes.

Meanwhile, 68% of consumers say it is critical that retail store employees understand their preferences and needs, and video analytics has become a core part of that strategy, but improper use, storage and handling comes with significant financial and reputational liabilities for brands across the UK and beyond.

Mr. Randall continued: “Consumers care about privacy. Implementing stronger privacy measures with in-store video will only further retailers’ objectives – not hinder them. People think that privacy and video analytics are incompatible – with smart deployment and the right technology, that’s no longer true.”


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