Smile - you're identified on bank's camera

By Simon Waters

2 comments
Roy Himmel is unhappy about being made to remove his sunglasses at a Whanganui bank. Wanganui Chronicle Photograph by Lewis Gardner
Roy Himmel is unhappy about being made to remove his sunglasses at a Whanganui bank. Wanganui Chronicle Photograph by Lewis Gardner

A Whanganui man wonders if there is something more sinister behind a local bank's insistence that he show his face to security cameras.

Roy Himmel said he was asked to remove his sunglasses at Kiwibank last week and wanted to know why.

"They said it was for security but I wanted to know if they are using facial recognition to identify and track me," Mr Himmel said.

Facial recognition software can identify people in real time and pinpoint them to a place and time.

"I removed my glasses briefly and they were satisfied with that. After I showed my face to the cameras they were happy for me to carry on wearing them. I wonder what's going on."

Kiwibank communications manager Bruce Thompson said the bank did not use facial recognition software but did keep video footage in case of an incident.

"We need to see our customer's faces clearly in case we are robbed - we can give the police clear footage of the people involved," Mr Thompson said.

The rules are clearly displayed within the bank and included helmets, glasses, hats and other attire that could obscure faces.

"Occasionally people get upset, especially if they have prescription sunglasses or for another reason don't feel they should be inconvenienced. Some feel affronted.

"But the rules help protect our staff and act as a deterrent against a possible robbery. We don't use facial recognition software but we do have clear video footage which can be used to identify people if needed."

Mr Himmel's question follows a similar incident earlier this year when a woman objected to being asked to remove her hat.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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