Woolworths to use AI security cameras to crack down on theft

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review. We may earn money when you buy through our links.

Following in the footsteps of the eastern states, Western Australia is set to introduce artificially intelligent (AI) security cameras to their self-checkouts. The technology will be able to detect incorrect scans, any products that are left in your trolley or basket, or any products that are scanned through as something else. So no, you won’t be able to scan a steak through as an onion with this new technology. 

The move to introduce AI comes as the cost of the living continues to increase, and more shoppers resort to shoplifting. Supermarkets like Woolworths, Coles, and IGA have all seen an increase in shoplifting, especially in regional areas. These shoppers usually take advantage of the self-scanners and the less than watchful eyes of the self-service clerks. They might fail to scan items or scan them as something else, like a pack of razors as a carrot. 

With the new technology, AI will notice whether or not an item still remains in your trolley or basket, or if it was scanned incorrectly. Customers will not be able to proceed with the rest of their shop until they are seen by a staff member. 

Woolworths have begun using AI in their WA self-service checkouts. Image: 9News.com.au

There are concerns that the technology uses facial recognition technology, especially after a number of big Australian brands were found to be misusing their own AI technology. 

"This is not viewed live, and any faces inadvertently detected are blurred when the footage is reviewed by a person so the customer cannot be identified," Elisha Moore, assistant state manager for Woolworths WA told ABC Radio Perth.

Stores utilising this technology must have signage out the front of their store, alerting incoming customers that its is being used. The call for notifying customers comes after a number of brands were investigated after claims they breached the Privacy Act with their use of facial recognition and artificial intelligence. 

Consumer group CHOICE investigated over 25 brands. Among them, Australian favourites like the Good Guys, Bunnings, and Kmart were found to be capturing the biometric data of their customers. 

The technology is currently being rolled out in WA ahead of its success in the eastern states earlier this year.

Hannah Geremia
Written by
Hannah Geremia
Hannah has had over six years of experience in researching, writing, and editing quality content. She loves gaming, dancing, and animals, and can usually be found under a weighted blanket with a cup of coffee and a book.

Recent Articles