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Rite-Aid Faces Issues with AI Facial Recognition

A Report by CYS Global Remit Legal & Compliance Office 



Rite Aid Corporation, an American drugstore chain based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has come under scrutiny for the launch of an inadequately tested and operationally deficient covert surveillance program, utilizing facial recognition technology against its customers. 


The company failed to consider the impact of its inaccurate technology, leading to the misidentification of individuals as matching someone on the company's watchlist database.  


The implementation of facial recognition technology by Rite Aid across hundreds of its retail locations involved the use of low-quality images, including screenshots from closed-circuit TV and photos taken from phones. The primary purpose was to identify potential shoplifters, prompting employees to intervene if the AI system recognized a potential suspect. However, the technology exhibited significant flaws, incorrectly identifying Rite Aid customers as individuals present in the watchlist database.   


This case highlights the critical need for robust compliance oversight in the adoption of AI technologies. The incident with Rite Aid's facial recognition system resulted in compliance risks and a high rate of false positives, underscoring the potential pitfalls when AI technologies are not properly managed.  


Several reasons contribute to the argument against the beneficial adoption of AI in compliance issues:  


Bias and Fairness: AI systems can perpetuate biases present in the training data, leading to unfair outcomes in sensitive areas such as hiring, lending, or criminal justice. 


Data Privacy Concerns: Compliance often involves handling sensitive and private information, requiring careful consideration of data privacy regulations to ensure proper handling and protection of personal data.  


Overreliance on Technology: There's a risk of overreliance on AI, where organizations may delegate decision-making entirely to automated systems without sufficient human oversight, especially in complex and nuanced compliance scenarios.  


Considering the case of CYS Global Remit, where automation and fintech are becoming integral to systems and financial activities, we are well-aware that it is crucial to approach AI implementation in compliance with a thoughtful and ethical mindset. This involves continuous monitoring, auditing, screening, and onboarding processes.


CYS Global Remit aims at adopting a human-in-the-loop approach, integrating human expertise into the decision-making process to provide oversight and address complex situations, particularly those falling under the compliance category.  

  

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