How Facial Recognition Tech is Revolutionizing Vending Machines Everywhere

Facial recognition vending machines

On a college campus last week, several smart vending machines appeared to be using facial recognition technology. Earlier this month, Reddit user SquidKid47 posted a photo claiming the machines used facial recognition technology. A writer for MathNews later investigated the claims and published a report on them.

The University of Waterloo eventually removed the facial recognition vending machines after reports of the tech made headlines.

Although not everyone expects to have their face scanned by facial recognition vending machines, it may actually be more common than you think.

Chris Russell, a professor at the Oxford Internet Institute, says facial recognition technology is becoming cheaper and more popular.

In other words, it’s very easy and cheap to embed the technology into other systems, which means they’re everywhere.

Russell said it doesn’t appear they were actively using the facial recognition capabilities on the machines removed from the college campus.

The error message indicates it’s hooked into a lot of additional code that could do facial recognition but isn’t,” he said.


We don’t know how widespread facial recognition technology is or how private companies use it.

Advertising is likely to be its most common use

The main benefit of installing the tech is being able to inform advertisers that their ads are tailored to specific customers.

“They target particular ages and genders, and they guarantee the ad will appear as soon as someone walks up to the screen.”

Face recognition technology is more likely to be used as a motion sensor rather than a sinister surveillance tool, with no data being stored.

In the case of the smart vending machines, the company that provides them said they were “fully GDPR compliant.” GDPR is part of the EU’s privacy legislation that determines how corporations can collect information about citizens.

According to Adaria Vending Services, the machines do not take or store any images or photos, and “an individual cannot be identified” using the technology.

A representative said the technology in the smart vending machines acts as a motion detector.

An attractive target for hackers-Facial recognition vending machines

When everything works properly, this kind of use is relatively harmless.

It is possible, however, that malicious actors could gain access to the underlying technology and cause issues.

In spite of the fact that most companies using the technology will destroy the data, Russell said these devices could become “hidden web cameras” connected to the internet if they are used at all.

It is an attractive target for hackers,” he said. “You might imagine hospitals or abortion clinics installing these vending machines. “Considering this, it’s a very easy way to target and monitor.”

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Editorial Director
I'm Shruti Mishra, Editorial Director @Newsblare Media, growing up in the bustling city of New Delhi, I was always fascinated by the power of words. This love for words and storytelling led me to pursue a career in journalism. In this position, I oversee the editorial team and plan out content strategies for our digital news platform. I am constantly seeking new ways to engage readers with thought-provoking and impactful stories.

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