A division of the Co-op grocery chain in the UK is facing scrutiny after deploying a face-based surveillance system at a handful of its stores. The facial recognition cameras were installed at 18 stores run by the Southern Co-op franchise, which operates more than 200 stores in Southern England under the broader Co-op umbrella..
The watchlist is put together by Co-op staff, who have the ability to add new faces following an incident in the store. Having said that, Facewatch does share its lists with other retailers, and if someone is added, their data will be stored for two years even if they are not charged or convicted of a crime. Both Co-op and Facewatch insisted that they do not share any information with the police, although Facewatch has had talks with law enforcement in the past.