John Lewis has been accused of “spying” after it was revealed that mystery shoppers recorded conversations with its employees using secret cameras.
“Discreet body cameras” were used by mystery shoppers, which are hired by the retailer to evaluate customer service by posing as a member of the public, in five John Lewis and Waitrose stores according to The Mirror.
Employees complained in John Lewis’ internal Gazette magazine, calling it a “gross invasion of privacy” and adding that “many partners are threatening legal action”.
Despite the move having “really upset a lot of people”, John Lewis said store staff are made aware that the filming is taking place in store and only select managers and the staff being filmed would see the footage.
This comes amid growing privacy concerns within the retail sector, which is increasingly employing facial recognition technology to identify shoppers and analyse their habits largely without their knowledge.
Amazon has also come under fire from campaigners against selling its Rekognition system to government agencies.
Rekognition is an online tool that works with both video and still images and allows users to match faces to pre-scanned subjects in a database containing up to 20 million people.
Amazon recommends law enforcement agents should only use the facility if there is a 99 per cent or higher confidence rating of a match and says they should be transparent about its usage.