Close this search box.

Bunnings and Kmart Halt Facial Recognition Technology in Stores in Response to Privacy Investigation


Kmart and Bunnings have temporarily switched off the use of facial recognition in their stores amid a probe by the nation’s privacy watchdog. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) confirmed that an investigation had been opened, due to concerns of how the two retail companies were storing and handling customers’ biometric data. 

What is facial recognition? 

Facial recognition technology (FRT) is a technology capable of matching a human face from a digital image or video against a database of faces as a form of authentication. Bunnings and Kmart claim that they have set up video cameras throughout their stores to identify when banned customers enter the store, so staff could be supported before the situation escalated. 

What is the issue? 

The key issue with the implementation of FRT is that it’s being deployed without dedicated regulations and guidelines to its use. If a breach of the FRT database were to occur, the private data of millions of Australian shoppers could be compromised. Breaches related to facial recognition technology have already emerged in countries like China, where millions of people had their biometric data exposed online.  

An investigation by the consumer advocates at CHOICE found that a large portion of customers weren’t even aware that FRT was being used in the stores that they shopped in. They attributed this to the inadequate signage used in stores, often hidden in hard-to-see areas, along with the limited publicity about the implementation of the technology. 

The secretive implementation of FRT brings up the broader question of privacy and issues of consent within the Australian public, leaving significant concerns of the invasiveness of the technology and the safety of Australians’ private data. 

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji is the CEO of Gridware, a leading cybersecurity consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. An emerging thought leader in cybersecurity, Ahmed is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and regularly contributes to cybersecurity conversations in Australia. As well as his extensive background as a security advisor to large Australian Enterprises, he is a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer on offensive cybersecurity topics and blockchain.


Sydney Offices
Level 12, Suite 6
189 Kent Street
Sydney NSW 2000
1300 211 235

Melbourne Offices
Level 13, 114 William Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
1300 211 235

Perth Offices
Level 32, 152 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
1300 211 235


Learn more about the team at the forefront of the Australian Cyber Security scene.

About Us →

Meet the Team →

Partnerships →

Learn more about the team at the forefront of the Australian Cyber Security scene.

Career Opportunities →

Internships →

Media appearances and contributions by Gridware and our staff.

See More →



Whether you need us to take care of security for you, respond to incidents, or provide consulting advice, we help you stay protected.

View all services →

Web App Pen. Test Calculator →

Network Pen. Test Calculator →

Governance & Audit

Legal and regulatory protection

Penetration Testing

Uncover system vulnerabilities

Remote Working & Phishing

Fortify your defenses

Cyber Security Strategy

Adaptation to evolving threats

Cloud & Infrastructure

Secure cloud computing solutions

Gridware 360

End-to-end security suite

Gridware Managed Services

Comprehensive & proactive security

Gridware CloudControl

Harness the benefits of cloud technology

Gridware Incident Response 24/7

Swift, expert-led incident resolution



A collection of our published insights, whitepapers, customer success stories and more.

Customer success stories from real Gridware customers. Find out how we have helped others stay on top of their Cyber Security.

Read More →