Have You Seen This?
By Karen Schumacher
If not, it has probably seen you.
Home Depot (HD) is a global home improvement retail corporation that was founded in 1978, having revenues in the billions. As one of the box stores allowed to stay open during the Covid event, its earnings “rose 27%” during that time. The company also owns several subsidiaries.
This non-human corporate thing, has “values.” Being non-binary, “it” takes care of employees, gives back, does the “right thing,” has “respect for all people,” and builds “strong relationships.” Seems those are really supposed to be human values. As for its philosophy, HD engages in “Customer Centrism,” with “customer satisfaction ingrained deep in the DNA of Home Depot.” Good way to try and humanize an inanimate object, or thing, by identifying it as having DNA.
HD has chosen to revamp its self-check-out kiosks. What the picture below, and what the other pictures in the article doesn’t show you, is that these kiosks are also recording you. At the HD in Idaho Falls, Idaho, as a customer walks up to the screen it shows the customer being videotaped on camera while flashing “recording.” Employees explain this new system as only necessary to control problems with theft. When asked where the scanned facial picture goes, the reply is to “corporate headquarters,” wherever that is. Inquiries about facial recognition reveal that yes, the recording probably does capture facial recognition. So, with the convenience of checking out one’s own items, a person’s face has been recorded without permission; the person willingly hands over their name that goes with their face as the kiosk only takes credit cards; a trail of what items are bought is logged; and where all of that information goes and is stored, God only knows.
Actually, HD is now being more overt about recording people for facial recognition, maybe because previously they were doing it covertly. In two Illinois class action lawsuits filed in 2019, HD was accused “of secretly using facial recognition to identify customers as soon as they enter their stores.” The outcome of these lawsuits wasn’t available but the general thought was HD would win because there is no proof of injury to the parties. Wouldn’t this fall under identity theft? This illegal collection of facial data is a hot topic in Illinois with Lowe’s, Walgreen’s, Kroger, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google also being sued. However, facial recognition goes far beyond just these retail stores, include Walmart as a culprit.
As a humanized thing, HD has engaged in several humanitarian causes, having already experienced similar repercussions as the current backlash some corporations are experiencing. It sponsored events as early as 2011 which resulted in boycotts of their activities into 2013. However, like its covert facial recognition activity, behind the scenes the story is quite different, providing funding that opposes its more public display of support for its causes. In the reality of a human world this would be called back stabbing.
But, HD is all about human rights through its campaign, adhering to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in its operations. Through its HD Foundation, veterans are served in partnership with United Nations supporter Habitat for Humanity.
HD is also committed to sustainability, and includes “10 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that align with The Home Depot’s sphere of influence.” It even practices Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, driven by the United Nations and World Economic Forum, and Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG), created by the World Economic Forum. Target has the same practices, and the maker of Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch, is in on this also. Hmm, seems like all of these corporations with values have public relations issues.
Now, HD had a pretty massive data breach in 2014. If this happened again just think of all the facial recognition and personal data that goes with that, and the implication for loss of privacy.
As a supporter of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, HD is moving all of its customers towards a cashless society, and many Americans are going along with it. It is stunning how customers move through the HD kiosk without thinking for two seconds what liberties are being forfeited and how their participation only advances the agenda. The line that this is for protection against theft is being bought, hook, line, and sinker. Luckily, there are many who are not drinking the Kool-Aid.
Boycott, boycott, boycott. As seen with the tremendous loss of revenue in the Bud Light and Target debacles, doing the same to HD is in order. Not one penny should be given to a corporation that arrogantly videotapes its customers, or engages in humanitarian activities while using its profits to thwart those activities, especially when it claims to have a code of ethics. Hogwash, it is as phony as a three-dollar bill and doesn’t deserve anybody’s business. Be on the lookout for these kiosks throughout the rest of Idaho. The way HD operates now is a far cry from the founders philosophy of “wide assortment, low prices and great service.”
Indirectly, boycotting is also an attack on the World Economic Forum. This is good. According to the its Policy Framework for Responsible Limits on Facial Recognition use, “the capturing of the biometric data, the comparison and the identification occur all instantaneously” in “Real-time” systems (pg 27). In the human world this is called spying, and that is exactly what the World Economic Forum wants to achieve control over us.
In this video by James Corbett, Thwarting Facial Recognition, he discusses ways in which to disable the cameras ability to capture facial features. However, nothing works as good as boycotting stores that practice this clandestine activity.