Pharmacy chain Rite-Aid’s recent abandonment of an eight-year-old facial recognition program aimed at curbing shoplifting underscores how organizations struggle to overcome associated security and privacy challenges – as well negative perceptions.

Faced with fallout after a recent Reuters expose, Rite-Aid torpedoed the program. But it is hardly the only company testing the facial recognition waters with an eye on embracing it full throttle. While the technology is most frequently discussed in terms of law enforcement, other industries adopting it include car manufacturers offering the ability to ensure only authorized drivers are behind the wheel. It's often touted as a pro-consumer vehicle safety feature that can detect, for example, drowsiness.

“Businesses in America are setting their sights on facial recognition, the next bleeding-edge technology,” says Matt Gayford, principal consultant at the Crypsis Group. “While facial recognition offers many efficiencies, it also creates several privacy and security challenges.”

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