Nice Face

Facial recognition software will end privacy once and for all.  Your face now provides marketers and the government with the ability to link that fabulous mug shot you put on Facebook to everything there is to know about you.  That’s right.  You thought you were just posting your smiley face for your friends to see?  Not exactly.

Queue the music:

The government has some restrictions with facial recognition software, but they are spending a ton of money to figure this out.  Retailers on the other hand have the ability to use your face to send you promotional offers – the linking between the on-line world and the off-line world.  Europe has tougher rules (You need to opt in there), but here in the US, the technology is way ahead of the law.  Even if you have never put your own picture up anywhere in the internet you can be found if you were included in any picture any one has ever taken of you.  So yes, Grandpa or Grandma who have refused to embrace anything digital and still read the paper in the morning, have been digitized and are therefore searchable.

A company called redpepper (www.redpepperland.com) has started a program called Facedeals.  Here is how it works.  Facial recognition cameras are installed at local businesses. These cameras recognize your face when you pass by, then check you in at the location. Simultaneously, your smartphone notifies you of a customized deal based on your Like history on Facebook.  Creepy?

Yes, there are companies out there today that are putting all the little fragments of your life together, both on-line and off-line to get to know you a little better.  They might know you, but you will never know them.  Minority Report is much closer than you might think.

Webman

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Somebody’s Watching Me

Retailers are watching me.  You too!

With smartphones, online shopping and lots of data, more and more companies are watching everything that you do to learn how to better sell you goods and services.  Retailers are using a variety of different tactics such as customer loyalty programs, facial recognition devices and cell phone signal trackers.  Then they use the collected data to determine where to place products in the store and how and where to advertise.

watching 1

Picking up your cell phone signal – Some U.S. malls rolled out technology that tracked consumers‘ cell phone signals in stores to track their paths through the mall. This technology is already popular in Europe and Australia.

Facial recognition – Retailers are using facial recognition technology to find out more about their core customer. It’s used to find out demographic information.

Loyalty programs – Many businesses use loyalty cards to track purchases and shopping habits. The retailer uses this information to target promotions exactly to the shopper.

Location AppsTarget and Walgreens have apps that lead customers around the store to the items they’re looking for. But while you have access to location information about the store, the retailer has the power to see what you’re looking for and where you go.

Abandoned carts?  Products that you pick up and then put down? How you walk the store?  All of this information is being used to make your shopping experience even more pleasurable – or so they say!

And in the spirit of Monday morning tuneage, yet another classic from Rockwell – I believe he is a one hit wonder:

More on this tomorrow.  Thanks to www.businessinsider.com

Enjoy the day.

Webman

Looking for Feedback

Going out to have a drink with a friend or family member, always an enjoyable time.  Meeting friends at a pub for dinner, some music, a good laugh, awesome.  But how would you feel if you were being recorded without your knowledge and that advancing facial recognition software could identify you without your permission?

So here is the situation – You and a friend walk into a neighborhood bar, order a cocktail, and, unbeknownst to you both, a camera above is scanning your faces to determine your age and gender. Your details are then combined with data on other bar patrons and then made available via a mobile application for users trolling for a good-time venue with the right genetic make-up.

This is not science fiction.  It is real and it has just been rolled out in San Francisco.  The name of the company is SceneTap http://www.scenetap.com/

SceneTap is a maker of cameras that pick up on facial characteristics to determine a person’s approximate age and gender. The company works with venues to install these cameras and track customers. It also makes web and mobile applications that allow random observers to find out, in real-time, the male-to-female ratio, crowd size, and average age of a bar’s patrons. And there is no way to avoid it if you are there.

Launched in Chicago last July, SceneTap is now live in seven markets, including San Francisco and Austin, and has tracked more than 8.5 million people at 400 partner venues. Bamboo Hut, Bar None, milk bar, The Abassador, Fluid Ultra Lounge and 20 other San Francisco locations now have the i-spy cameras in place.

SceneTap promises that all data is collected anonymously and that nothing is recorded or stored. For nightlife-lovers, it’s a fail-proof way to get a preview of a bar or club. Venues can offer specials, and are given tools to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Marketing measurement at its finest.

Is this over the line for you?  We all know that privacy went out the window a long time ago, but now this?

In the case of Foursquare, for example, the consumer is in charge.  You decide whether you want to share this information or not. With SceneTap, the consumer has no say in the matter. Walk into one of these bars and you’re being digitally sized up — and there’s nothing you can do about it. What happens when they start to capture additional personal information such as height, weight, ethnicity, or wealth?

Let me know what you think by posting below.

Webman