University Removes Vending Machines Due to Hidden Facial Recognition Tech

The University of Waterloo in Canada is removing a series of vending machines after a student discovered a hidden feature: facial recognition technology. This technology raised concerns among students and faculty regarding privacy and potential misuse of personal data.

The discovery came to light when a Reddit user, SquidKid47, shared a photo of an M&M-branded vending machine displaying an error message mentioning “FacialRecognition.App.exe.” This sparked an investigation by River Stanley, a student writer, who identified the machines as being provided by Adaria Vending Services and manufactured by Invenda Group.

Both Adaria and Invenda quickly issued statements denying the machines stored any personal information or images of users. They claimed the technology only acted as a motion sensor, detecting faces to activate the purchase interface without capturing or storing any data.

However, the university remained unconvinced and requested the immediate removal of the machines. “The university has asked that these machines be removed from campus as soon as possible. In the meantime, we’ve asked that the software be disabled,” stated Rebecca Elming, a university representative.

This incident highlights the growing concerns around facial recognition technology and its potential intrusion into our daily lives, even in seemingly mundane scenarios like vending machine purchases. It remains to be seen whether universities will adopt stricter regulations regarding technology implementation on campus in the future.

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