Shoppers at a mall on the outskirts of Calgary are left to question the intentions of the operators of a digital ad display building after a camera was recently spotted.

Alexander Le noticed the inconspicuous recording device on the top of a display during a recent trip to CrossIron Mills and was left to wonder its purpose. “I would prefer if there was a sign that specifically tells you what this camera is for because right now there is nothing.”

Le shared an image of the camera on social media and asked CrossIron Mills

The digital ad displays in CrossIron Mills are the responsibility of Cineplex Digital Media and mall officials say the facial recognition technology software within the casing has not been activated.

In a statement to CTV, Sarah Van Lange, a Cineplex Digital Media spokesperson, says the anonymous video analytics com are used by a third-party vendor to collect general information regarding audience size and demographics.

“Cineplex Digital Media (our digital signage division) does not use facial recognition technology in any of its installs across Canada or globally. What we do deploy for some clients is anonymous video analytics (AVA) solutions with the support of a trusted third-party vendor. This technology enables us to collect audience size and general demographics for marketing purposes, but does not identify, track or store information related to individuals. In other words, there is no personal identification, no pictures stored, and no tracking or profiling of individuals.”

“We are committed to respecting the privacy and personal information of our customers in everything we do.”

In August, Cadillac Fairview, which operates Chinook Centre and Market Mall, suspended the use of cameras in digital directories while an investigation into the recordings was conducted by the provincial and federal privacy commissioners.

Sharon Polsky of the Privacy and Access Council of Canada says society, as a whole, has become too accepting of potential intrusions of privacy.

“It’s unfortunate that everyone has been told to believe that it’s okay to be under constant surveillance without any notice,” said Polsky. “People don’t even realize that they are being monitored.”

Officials with CrossIron Mills denied CTV’s request to send a camera crew into the mall to record the displays.

With files from CTV’s Brenna Rose