For immediate release: December 20, 2023


The FTC has issued an enforcement action banning Rite Aid from using facial recognition surveillance in their stores for five years, and warning other companies 

Fight for the Future was one of the first organizations in the US to start campaigning against the use of facial recognition in retail stores, following the success of our campaigns to get major music festivals and universities to back away from biometric surveillance.

We’ve been running this page and scorecard listing companies who will, won’t, and might use facial recognition:

Journalists should follow up with the companies there to ask whether the FTC order will affect their decision to use facial recognition. Fight for the Future issued the following statement, which can be attributed to the group’s director, Evan Greer (she/her):

“It’s not just the cops. Corporations can use facial recognition surveillance in ways that systematically deprive people of their basic rights too. The FTC cracking down on Rite should send a clear message to other companies flirting with the idea of tracking and scanning the faces of their customers and employees. Madison Square Garden, for example, has deployed facial recognition in ways that seem perhaps even more egregious than what Rite Aid did. The use of face surveillance in retail stores, hospitals, movie theaters, venues and other businesses poses real world threats to people’s safety and civil rights. This tech could bar someone from the only grocery store within walking distance of their home, or lead to a false arrest if a store employee calls the police after a mismatch caused by a discriminatory algorithm. A young Black girl was thrown out of a rollerskating rink in Michigan after a racist facial recognition algorithm falsely flagged her as a troublemaker. It’s not a coincidence that Rite Aid primarily deployed this tech in communities of color.

Prominent artists like Rage Against the Machine have already pledged to boycott venues that use facial recognition. Fight for the Future and dozens of civil rights groups have called on retail stores to stop using this tech. Now the FTC has made it clear they’re on the case. Next we need to continue working toward an outright ban on both corporate and government use of face surveillance. But for now, the message to corporate America is clear: stop using discriminatory and invasive facial recognition now, or get ready to pay the price.”