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The Interesting Case of Facial Recognition in Vending Machines


The introduction of the widespread use of technology has no doubt made a significant difference in facilitating millions of people’s daily activities. However, there have been greater concerns in regards to security and privacy as some people express concerns on how their data can be compromised. Recently, The University of Waterloo has announced that they would be removing smart vending machines from campus following reports of the vending machines’ ability to use facial recognition technology.

The news first came from a student who took a photo of the vending machine and posted to Reddit that showed the vending machine displaying the message, “Invenda.Vending.FacialRecognitionApp.exe.” In other words, this technological message meant that the vending machine was unable to start the transaction. Moreover, these vending machines did not have any cameras, formal consent, or notifications for users of the vending machine. In response to the students’ complaints about the vending machines’ ability to gather information on users’ physical appearance, Waterloo University took swift action in moving to replace all existing vending machines on campus. The manufacturer of the machine, Invenda and Adaria Vending Services, defended the machines and reassured that these vending machines do not have the ability to take in any information from users. Adaria released an official statement claiming how restocking nad logistics for these vending machines and do not intend to record people’s information. Nonetheless, these claims did not reassure the students as much as they expressed some skepticism.  


While technology has greatly influenced and benefited millions of people around the world, there are some concerns that exist in regards to privacy. It is very clear that facial recognition technologies are not a popular attraction on college campuses as these students tend to value their privacy and do not want technological machines to be conducting data on people without their consent. 


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