Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Facedeals.. facial recognition tools to be used for discounts

Surveillance tools to be used in customer reward application???

A Facedeals camera. Image by Redpepper 
Image reproduced from

In the wake of the latest Wikileaks release about the Surveillance Network TrapWire it has been announced by Redpepper Advertising Agency (Nashville Tennesse ) that they intend to use Facial Recognition Technology to reward customers through an application dubbed "facedeal"

If you have "liked" the pages of participating businesses you will receive a discount via mobile devices as you enter the premises... Wifi Cameras using facebooks facial recognition software will identify you from pictures that you have uploaded to your facebook.

The company explained that as businesses and customers were not manually checking in as frequently as they had hoped, Facedeal would allow automation offers to be delivered to loyal customers.

The next evolution in Targeted Advertising Systems goes from tracking consumers online via their google searches and web activities, into mining customer photographs from public profiles. Surely this brings into question human rights where privacy is concerned?

Online and mobile targeting technologies work by anonymously monitoring and tracking the content read and sites visited by a user or IP when that user surfs on the Internet. This is done by serving tracking codes. Sites visited, content viewed, and length of visit are databased to predict an online behavioral pattern.[2]

Privacy International is fighting in order to make Governments legislate in a way that protects the rights of the general public. According to them, from any ethical standpoint such interception of web traffic must be conditional on the basis of explicit and informed consent. And action must be taken where organisations can be shown to have acted unlawfully.[6]

A survey conducted in the United States by the Pew Internet & American Life Project between January 20 and February 19, 2012 revealed that most of Americans are not fans of targeted advertising, seeing it as an invasion of privacy. Indeed 68% of those surveyed said they are "not okay" with targeted advertising because they do not like having their online behavior tracked and analyzed.[7]
- from Wikipeida Article on Targeted Advertising

One way of preserving your anonymity and circumventing the prying eyes of Targeted Advertising is to use The Tor Browser which does not allow cookies to be stored and is affiliated with startpage which does not record your IP address so you can search for anything without your location being stored by advertising agencies or your online behaviour being monitored.

Educate yourself on how to protect yourself when browsing online, visit EFF Surveillance Self Defence for a hands on detailed report.

Aug 15 2012