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.

  • @Doug7070
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    303 months ago

    There is a massive fundamental difference between having a person see your face in public, or even having a basic security camera record your face, and having a system recognize your biometric data and stalk you through every public environment with extreme precision.

    The general public should absolutely not accept the imposition of being expected to be followed through every public place by private corporate entities for undisclosed purposes. We can and should aggressively push government representatives to take strong regulatory action to outlaw this behavior and aggressively punish violations.

    Will making these efforts actually change matters? Maybe, maybe not. Will throwing your hands up and just assuming it’s impossible to change anything and that we should all just lay down and accept it as fact lead to the worst possible outcome? Absolutely.