Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged Biometrics

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Tesco has decided to install face tracking technology that will scan shoppers’ faces and then display video advertising to them at all its petrol/gas stations. Amscreen‘s face tracking technology claims it will revolutionize the advertising industry.

The system, known as OptimEyes, determines the customers’ age and gender while they wait in line at the cash register.

The new platform is making waves in the advertising industry, as it can track and report on consumers advertising viewing habits, providing a breakdown of the gender, age, date, time and volume of the consumers who look at the advert. The unique technology is set to shake up the advertising industry due to the accountability it provides.

Although it may sound like a good idea, Big Brother Watch’s Nick Pickles and other privacy advocates disagree.

…there are two fundamental problems here; not least the fact that the only way you can ensure your face is not scanned is to not go into the shop. Firstly, should we really be increasing the amount of surveillance we’re under so that some companies can sell more advertising? Secondly, the technology isn’t going to stay the same and be used in the same way. The potential for abuse is chilling.

When combined with other data collecting programs, the abuses could be massive. Add Google, Facebook, and store loyalty cards together with OptimEyes and a frightening picture for the future begins to develop.

Simon Sugar, chief executive of Amscreen, the firm which sells the technology, has admitted it has connotations of science fiction, but is looking to increase its reach further. ‘Yes, it’s like something out of Minority Report, but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible,’ he said.”

This should not be reassuring to anyone. While it is not yet a facial recognition program attached to a database of faces, the current climate of governments and corporations spying on its citizens and customers is not far off.

OptimEyes is merely the beginning of full-blown personalized advertising. Once consumers are used to this sort of spying, it will become a facial recognition program and you will be recognized and ads will pertain specifically to you, just like they were in Minority Report.

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SIBIOS from ADC on Vimeo.


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Tuscon police department have begun using a new automated fingerprint identification device on the streets. If the police stop you on the streets and you don’t have ID on you, they’re going to take your fingerprints on the spot. Though the police department doesn’t explain why, undercover units are also getting the devices.

The police have not said how long they will keep a person’s fingerprints in their own database or what the collection and disposal process will be.

MorphoIdent‘s brochure says that, “All data is transferred via Bluetooth™ 2.0 or USB to a PC smart-phone, or PDA used to interface with the AFIS system.” It also gives the option to connect “HTTP/HTTPs, SMTP/SMTPs Interface with AFIS Server.” If the police aren’t using HTTPS or SMTPS all the time, then the information being transmitted is not secure.

Download (PDF, 929KB)

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