Freedom Case facial recognition may deter retail employees from racially profiling
BlackTechLogy: While facial recognition software and locked-up glass cases may feel invasive, there is an upside of the added security
There’s something that happens when you’re sitting in a newsroom at night, hearing emergency calls and watching night reporters speed out of the room to cover a shooting. You become desensitized to news. It’s been seven years since I sat in a traditional newsroom, regardless of fact-checking news copy (about tax season) this morning.
Rarely will a news story pop into my email or my daily assignments that makes me pause.
Nevada voters — along with a dozen other states — pushing this year to get rid of constitutional language supporting slavery and/or involuntary servitude in prisons doesn’t surprise me. It fits America’s history. It does make me sad though.
MAGA deciding that Taylor Swift dating Travis Kelce is a conspiracy theory to get President Joe Biden re-elected doesn’t surprise me either. It’s on brand for this crew.
Trump now owing $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll threw me off for a few seconds. That is, before I remembered this is the same guy who got up and walked out of court in the middle of Carroll’s attorney Shawn Crowley’s closing argument. And he waited outside until his own attorney Alina Habba said her own remarks. (I don’t even have that kind of bravery in Small Claims Court, never mind comprehending how someone could behave this way about a rape case.)
But there’s one recent story that keeps constantly showing up in my inbox that I wish I could be more upset about, and I’m just not. It’s about the Freedom Case, a touchscreen device that requires customers to enter their cell phone number or stand in place for facial recognition in order to unlock glass cases in retail stores.
According to the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Buy Safe America Coalition, the reason for the boost in locked cases is because nearly 70% of retailers reported a rise in organized retail crime in 2021, contributing to theft and losses of as much as $69 billion a year. I can understand why there’s frustration about waiting for an employee to be available to unlock a case as much as I can understand why non-stealing customers feel like the alternate option is overkill.
I’m starting to wonder about the larger demographics of those who are so upset. Sadly, since high school, I am used to going into retail stores where everything is locked and leaving your bag with the cashier. I was walking into restaurants and banks with bulletproof glass long before coronavirus.
Every single time I see someone get upset about locked cases and collecting tote bags (there are multiple complaints about it on Yelp), they’re never black. They’re probably also not used to going into stores where they’re treated like criminals before they can even pass the entrance. Are their standards too high or have mine been battered into the ground?
Potentially having to use the Freedom Case doesn’t bother me though. I’d rather scan my face than deal with obnoxious employees who are following me around expecting me to steal solely because I wake up every morning being melanin-rich.