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Kohler Bathroom Fined 500,000 Yuan For Installing 565 Face Recognition Cameras In 222 Chinese Stores

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According to the website of Shanghai Municipal Market Supervision Administration, Kohler (China) Investment Co., Ltd. was recently fined 500,000 yuan for installing camera equipment to capture face information in its stores without consumers’ consent between February 2020 and March 2021. This act violated the relevant provisions of the Consumer Rights Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China. They were fined 500,000 yuan and ordered to make corrections by the Shanghai Jing’an District Market Supervision Administration.

Screenshot source: Shanghai Municipal Administration of Market Supervision website

According to the administrative penalty decision letter No. [2021] 062021000787, on March 15, 2021, CCTV’s “315” evening party reported that the company had violated the law by collecting facial information. The Shanghai Municipal Administration of Market Supervision opened a case for investigation on March 17. After the investigation, the party suspected of capturing consumers’ face information without their consent. In view of the huge amount of information suspected to be criminal, the Bureau transferred the case to the District Public Security Bureau on April 20. The case was closed and filed.

On June 22, the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Market Supervision received a Notice of Non-Filing from the Jing’an District Public Security Bureau. The Shanghai Municipal Market Supervision Bureau reopened the case on June 23 and continued to investigate the case. It was found that the party signed a system framework contract with Suzhou Wandian Palm Network Technology Co. They agreed to supply camera equipment, including intelligent supervisory server, monitoring hard disk, member identification perception instrument and other products and software systems to the party. After the contract was signed, it was installed by Wandian Palm in the party’s dealer stores.

According to the decision letter, as of March 15, 2021, 565 sets of camera equipment supplied by Wandian Palm were installed in 222 Kohler stores nationwide. The parties paid RMB 991,674 for the total cost of the purchased orders to Wandian Palm.

The camera devices automatically captured the face information of store visitors and uploaded the collected face information images to the Ali cloud server rented by WandianPal through a software system, and then screened out store employees and customers who repeatedly entered the store through an algorithm calculation to achieve the purpose of de-duplication. According to this, the party to accurate statistics of customer flow, to facilitate the development of sales policy. However, the parties did not obtain the express or authorized consent of consumers when using the above camera equipment to collect their face information.

As of March 15, 2021, the parties captured a total of 2,202,264 pieces of face information.

Between February 2020 and March 2021, the parties violated the provisions of Article 29(1) of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests – “Operators shall collect and use consumers’ personal information. personal information. They should follow the principles of lawfulness, legitimacy and necessity, express the purpose, manner and scope of collection and use of information, and with the consent of the consumer. Operators collect and use consumer personal information. They shall disclose their collection and use rules, and shall not violate the provisions of laws and regulations and the agreement of the parties to collect and use information.” This constitutes into the operator without the consent of the consumer to collect personal information of the consumer’s illegal behavior.

The illegal act of collecting consumers’ personal information without their consent was reported by CCTV’s “315” evening party. This act has caused a bad social impact and the amount of information collected is huge. In accordance with Article 56(1)(9) of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, the Shanghai Jing’an District Market Supervision Bureau decided to order the party to rectify the illegal act and to impose an administrative penalty of RMB 500,000 yuan. The decision date is July 26, 2021.

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