Retail Big Brother – Mannequins Are Now Using Facial Recognition Technology

Back in August, we learned about how certain trash cans in London are using ORB technology that allows them to spy on people’s habits through their smartphones. It appears that the spying trends just continue to get worse, and in most cases the users of the technology recognize that the people being spied on might not appreciate the intrusion so they are trying to keep it all very quiet.

The latest infringement upon personal privacy, unsurprisingly, comes courtesy of retail outlets. More from CBS:

As CBS 2′s Don Champion reported, a growing number of stores are using discrete and sophisticated technology — including mannequins with facial-recognition cameras hidden in their eyes — to track shopper demographics in an effort to boost sales. Retailers say the marketing data technology allows them to cater their business to customers better, but it’s also raising privacy concerns.

Alfonso Perez built a system called Shopperception that Walmart has utilized. It uses motion-sensored cameras to track a shopper’s product choice on a shelf and the time it takes to make a decision. Perez’s business has doubled in the past year.

Joel Reidenberg, a professor of technology at Princeton University, said retailers have tried to keep the technology use quiet.

Now here’s the key point.

“If the retailer is unwilling to be transparent with what they’re doing, the way they’re collecting information, how they’re using that information, it says they know their customers will be upset by it,” Reidenberg said.

“We have to decide, do we draw the line?” he said.

Americans haven’t been very good at drawing the line at much. Partly because we are such an ignorant culture. For example, did you know that Facebook stores the stuff you type as you type it, but then decide to delete and never actually post?

It might be time to start drawing the line before it’s too late.

In Liberty,

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  1. thetinfoilhatsociety

    Ironic that you have not one, but TWO Facebook like buttons…

    • Michael Krieger

      Not irony, it’s actually because I am an illuminati NSA agent, impostor, and a fraud. Does that make you happy? Or perhaps it’s because some of my readers asked for it. You don’t need to use them you know.

    • thetinfoilhatsociety

      I get that, I just still find it ironic. We have to share our outrage about data mining and invasions of privacy with the very tools that allow that to happen.

      I got rid of Facebook months ago; I joined to keep up with family, but they’re all nuts and I remember why I moved a thousand miles away. I miss seeing daily pictures of my grandkids, but they live 25 miles away and I can see them and take my own pictures.

    • Michael Krieger

      Yep, I have a facebook, but don’t use it. My thing is that if readers ask for it and it helps spread information I will try it. I don’t want to be a fascist on my site with regard to what tools readers want to use to share information.

      Appreciate your thoughts,
      Michael Krieger

  2. Aside from spending (literally) $1 in the hardware section, over the past year, I will only go into Walmart to provide security for family, as the parking lot is now mentioned in newspaper police reports.

    Because of their subsidized hiring policies, some shifts look like an asylum or halfway house. One applicant told me he tests dirty, on purpose, and appears to be un-fire-able, well beyond the hiring season for his quota.

    I’m assuming that my body language or keywords were mainly indignant.

    For instance, “If they don’t have what I want, no, I do not have to buy anything; we’re allowed to leave.”

    At least, you’re allowed to leave, for now.

    Some years after Gillette reportedly monitored people’s shaving habits, and product tags followed people into the parking lots, healthcare machines appear to be RFID-enabled and harass people, who don’t sign up.

  3. Who’s Controlling The Snowden Documents and to What Purpose?

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