Facial recognition to be used in British supermarkets for the first time

Facial recognition will soon be used in British shops for the first time to judge how old customers are at self-checkout machines when they buy age restricted items, it is understood following a deal with the company that makes the tills for Tesco and Asda.

NCR, who make the software and hardware for self check machines for the majority of the UK’s supermarkets, will integrate a camera that will estimate the age of shoppers when they are buying alcohol and cigarettes.

It will mean a member of staff will not have to intervene to approve a purchase, but instead the machine will scan a person’s face and either accept or deny the sale of the item, without needing to see any official identification from the customer.

The system does not require shoppers to register their identity in advance and does not retain any visual information about users after they have made a purchase.

It follows an announcement made by NCR today that it will introduce the facial recognition software, which was developed by London-based technology company Yoti, in its “FastLane” tills in the next few months.

These tills are currently used by many UK retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Boots, and WHSmith.

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