Author Bio ▼

IFSEC Insider, formerly IFSEC Global, is the leading online community and news platform for security and fire safety professionals.
August 9, 2022


State of Physical Access Trend Report 2024

Retail security

43% of UK retailers fined for video privacy breaches, according to survey

Retailers are being hit for their failure to protect customer and employee privacy in video footage, according to a nationwide survey of retailers from video security and privacy company, Secure Redact.

SupermarketRetailCrime-CristianoBabini-AlamyStock-22The survey asked 500 British retailers a range of questions relating to in-store use of video surveillance technology, the visual data privacy of customers, GDPR violations and more between May and June 2022.

43% of brands surveyed reported they had been fined for a violation of video surveillance GDPR legislation. Of these retailers, 37% reported paying an equivalent of 2% of their annual turnover, 30% said the fine amounted to 3% of annual turnover, and 15% said the fine was 45% of annual turnover. A staggering 33% of those fined had to close stores as a result of enforcement action.

Simon Randall, CEO, Secure Redact, said: “These findings paint a vivid picture — the unstoppable rise of video is meeting the immovable object of privacy regulation, with retailers and shoppers left to pay the price.

“The rapid increase in mass-surveillance of UK shoppers represents a breach of personal privacy on a colossal scale, and the regulators appear to be clamping down hard.”

In IFSEC Global’s Video Surveillance Report of 2021, facial recognition and customer behavioural analysis were both included in the top three reasons why organisations are using video analytics – with loitering detection following behind in fourth place. The retail sector has been a popular market for AI and analytics in surveillance devices, with technology providing the ability for operators and store managers to pick out ‘hotspot’ areas and improve efficiencies in stock placement and queuing lines, for instance.

Similarly, UK retailers surveyed for Secure Redact intend to expand video surveillance technology use, such as wireless CCTV, facial recognition technology, queue monitoring or body cameras in-store. 94% of survey respondents already use at least one of these technologies, and all said they intend to use them more in future, highlighting that many companies are looking to use video surveillance for more than just security purposes.

68% of consumers say it is critical that retail store employees understand their preferences and needs and video analytics has become a core part of that strategy, but improper use, storage and handling comes with significant financial and reputational liabilities for brands across the UK and beyond.

Indeed, only recently has UK retailer Co-Op been reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office by privacy campaigners over its use of facial recognition technology in its video surveillance.

Randall continued: “Consumers care about privacy. Implementing stronger privacy measures with in-store video will only further retailers’ objectives – not hinder them. People think that privacy and video analytics are incompatible – with smart deployment and the right technology, that’s no longer true.”


Free Download: The Video Surveillance Report 2023

Discover the latest developments in the rapidly-evolving video surveillance sector by downloading the 2023 Video Surveillance Report. Over 500 responses to our survey, which come from integrators to consultants and heads of security, inform our analysis of the latest trends including AI, the state of the video surveillance market, uptake of the cloud, and the wider economic and geopolitical events impacting the sector!

Download for FREE to discover top industry insight around the latest innovations in video surveillance systems.


Related Topics

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments