A set of smart vending machines at the University of Waterloo is expected to be removed from campus after students raised privacy concerns about their software.

The machines have M&M artwork on them and sell chocolate and other candy. They are located throughout campus, including in the Modern Languages building and Hagey Hall.

Earlier this month, a student noticed an error message on one of the machines in the Modern Languages building. It appeared to indicate there was a problem with a facial recognition application.

“We wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for the application error. There’s no warning here,” said River Stanley, a fourth-year student, who investigated the machines for an article in the university publication, mathNEWS.

  • @Death_Equity
    43 months ago

    Most states do not have any laws which restrict how biometrics are used. So using your fingerprint, face, or iris to checkout at the store doesn’t have any protections that would prevent that biometric data from being sent somewhere else, including the police. A store could gather facial or even iris data from a camera and you would have no idea because they don’t have to tell you.

    Worse is that most people don’t see the problem with the digital panopticon because “they haven’t done anything wrong” and they are willing to give up their data for the idea of a theoretical safety.