“It’s not that different from a Fitbit or something like that,” says Suri. “It’s basically the same, we would just present the metrics to the managers after the shift.” Presto says it's testing the technology at multiple restaurants across the country, but declined to name any other than Outback.The Outback Steakhouse pilot will use Presto Vision specifically to analyze footage from the lobby of a franchise operated by Evergreen Restaurant Group, which manages nearly 40 Outback Steakhouse locations across the United States. It will monitor factors like how crowded the lobby is and how many customers decide to leave rather than wait for a table. Suri says Presto Vision could be used not only to evaluate employee performance after the fact, but also course-correct in the moment. For instance, managers could be sent text messages when the number of people waiting for a table reaches a certain threshold.
For now, workers on the ground don't know much about how the technology will be used. "I don't know anything about it," one worker at the Portland Outback location said over the phone. "We have zero interaction with that. I'm pretty sure that's just still in the developmental phase."Presto Vision's software doesn't identify individual diners and doesn't currently employ technology like facial recognition. “We do not collect any personal information and the video is deleted within three days of collection,” Jeff Jones, the president and CEO of Evergreen Restaurant Group, said in an email. But even if their data is anonymized, consumers may be unnerved to learn that an algorithm is monitoring their night out.
EFF supports legislative efforts in Washington and Massachusetts to place a moratorium on government use of face surveillance technology. The moratoriums would stay in place, unless lawmakers determined these technologies do not have a racial disparate impact, after hearing directly from minority communities about the unfair impact face surveillance has on vulnerable people.
San Francisco just became the first city in the nation to ban the use of facial recognition technology by police and government agencies. Rosenberg does worry about an uptick in neighborhood surveillance, she said, but is pleased that the bill will stop facial recognition technology from misidentifying people as criminal suspects in real-time policing.