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Old 11-21-2012, 01:53 PM   #1
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No thanks, just looking (back at you)

As you head out to begin your holiday shopping, here's a cautionary tale.

Stores are installing mannequins that not only look back at you but identify you (within limits).

Quote:
“You wouldn’t expect a mannequin to be observing you.”
The EyeSee looks ordinary enough on the outside, with its slender polystyrene frame, blank face and improbable pose. Inside, it’s no dummy. A camera embedded in one eye feeds data into facial-recognition software like that used by police. It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by.

“Any software that can help profile people while keeping their identities anonymous is fantastic,” said Uché Okonkwo, executive director of consultant Luxe Corp. It “could really enhance the shopping experience, the product assortment, and help brands better understand their customers.”

While some stores deploy similar technology to watch shoppers from overhead security cameras, the EyeSee provides better data because it stands at eye level and invites customer attention, Almax contends.
Bionic Mannequins Spy on Shoppers to Boost Luxury Sales- Bloomberg
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:50 AM   #2
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That is just creepy. Keep the cameras in the blacked out semi-spheres on the ceiling where they belong!
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:37 PM   #3
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That is just creepy. Keep the cameras in the blacked out semi-spheres on the ceiling where they belong!
MEGA creepy! Isn't there any way to avoid being constantly snooped on? This is supposed to be a free country, not some totalitarian regime where Big Brother is watching you.

I am getting more paranoid by the minute!
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:20 PM   #4
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kyounge1956 -

re being a free country - don't you think the merchants have a right to protect their wares Think about THIS - it will ALSO help reduce shoplifting. Identifying known shoplifters and keeping them OUT is important.

If it really bothers you, tell the management and take your business to places that do NOT have security systems. It is STILL a free country.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:21 PM   #5
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MEGA creepy! Isn't there any way to avoid being constantly snooped on? This is supposed to be a free country, not some totalitarian regime where Big Brother is watching you.

I am getting more paranoid by the minute!
What's wrong with someone watching you? You are on their property.

All these security cameras have got a number of bad guys off the street. I'm all for 'em. I feel safer the more there are.

I would not consider it an invasion of privacy until they point them inside my home. Hmmm, or maybe over my shoulder at the library? In some ways I'd like to have some privacy over what I check out or read there, but it's not that big a deal.

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Old 11-22-2012, 03:06 PM   #6
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It sounds more like marketing than security, and it will be annoying if stores add hardware to suggest other items if you look at something. Article notes that online sites have to advise you (no doubt in tiny type somewhere on the site) if they are collecting info on you much as the facial recognition equipment would in these mannequins and how it would be used, so presumably the stores would also have to somehow advise their shoppers about it too. And could the data be sent off to homeland security to track movement?

On the other hand, it will probably become just another mountain of data and videos that no one has time or will be paid to harvest.
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:12 PM   #7
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(snip)re being a free country - don't you think the merchants have a right to protect their wares (snip)
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
What's wrong with someone watching you? You are on their property.

All these security cameras have got a number of bad guys off the street. I'm all for 'em. I feel safer the more there are.(snip)

-ERD50
I don't mind security cameras pointed at the merchandise to keep people from stealing it, but you don't need face recognition for that, at least not face recognition done by the store and with data kept by them. Face recognition at the police station to match a thief caught on film to a mug shot would be another thing altogether, and I would not oppose it. Anyway, according to the quote in the OP, security/theft prevention is not what these cameras are for. They are intended to "enhance the shopping experience, the product assortment, and help brands better understand their customers.” In other words, they are to track me as a customer, see what I buy, and try to influence my purchases. They say this software is anonymous, but how long do you think that will last? The camera will see a black female between 50 and 65 coming into the store and selecting an item, but if I use my debit card to pay for it, the inventory control computer will know that it was kyounge1956 who bought that item on that date from that store. Even if I usually use cash, just one purchase with plastic, or a check plus driver's license, would link my face with my identity and allow tracking of my past and future purchases.

Thanks, I can decide what to buy and when to buy it, without cameras and computers monitoring my every move and retailers tracking my data. This constant surveillance, even if not used for purposes of overt repression, deprives me, or attempts to, of privacy in the interior of my own cranium. It is an attempt by retailers to manipulate me for their own ends. Propaganda works, and to my way of thinking all this tracking, monitoring, customizing, whatever you call it, is retailers' attempts to make their propaganda (i.e. advertising) more effective, regardless of whatever my desires may be. Maybe I am very susceptible, maybe I am very resistant. I don't know, and I don't want businesses, or anyone else, tracking my every move with the end of developing ever-more-effective ways to influence me and my decisions. Even if it doesn't work, I resent that they feel like they have the right to snoop on me, monitor my activities, and use other means to find out about me, and keep a data file about me, without my prior consent. And no, I don't think that merely walking in the door of a store should be considered a consent to this obtrusive data gathering.

See, I told you I was paranoid.
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:13 PM   #8
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All these security cameras have got a number of bad guys off the street. I'm all for 'em. I feel safer the more there are.
I suspect that sort of attitude would vanish the first time one received a $100 traffic ticket in the mail from a camera on the street for going 2 mph over the limit.
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:44 PM   #9
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*See, I told you I was paranoid*

Perhaps therein lies the real issue.

As I said before, if it REALLY bothers you, TELL THE MANAGEMENT that you dislike it and will take your business elsewhere. Then do it. It REALLY is a free country - you have that choice!

OR ... stuff cotton balls in your cheeks and use other disguises to fool the system.
Whatever it takes to get over your issues.

(as an aside... I am not sure you have or do not have a right to "privacy in the interior of my own cranium", nor do I think that these camera are what would deprive you of that if it existed - just my 2 cents worth)
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:11 PM   #10
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I already enhance my shopping experience by NOT shopping...
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:28 PM   #11
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*See, I told you I was paranoid*

Perhaps therein lies the real issue.

As I said before, if it REALLY bothers you, TELL THE MANAGEMENT that you dislike it and will take your business elsewhere. Then do it. It REALLY is a free country - you have that choice!

OR ... stuff cotton balls in your cheeks and use other disguises to fool the system.
Whatever it takes to get over your issues.

(as an aside... I am not sure you have or do not have a right to "privacy in the interior of my own cranium", nor do I think that these camera are what would deprive you of that if it existed - just my 2 cents worth)
I also resent that businesses and any other entity which might use such systems imposes upon me the inconvenience and expense of avoiding their intrusions into my privacy. To me this is as if the stores were hiring detectives to follow me around and write down where I go, what I do, who I talk to etc. When and where did they get the right to do this? What is their justification? I've committed no crime, why should the onus be on me to avoid their surveillance? If they were the police, they would have to provide probable cause and get a warrant to get this data. Why aren't retailers similarly restrained?

In my opinion, all such monitoring should be strictly on an "opt in" basis. If you want stores to track you and offer you special deals, fine. I don't mind their offering it to you, and if you want to accept the offer I'm not going to try to talk you out of it. What I object to is that it's involuntary. They don't ask, they just go ahead and do it, whether I've agreed to it or not. And how on earth can I take my business "elsewhere", when there is no requirement that stores notify me that they are spying on their customers with concealed cameras, and keeping a data file of their activities? How do I have any choice if all the retailers start to do this, and there is no "elsewhere"? And retailing is not the only way this type of data-gathering and tailoring the message to the hearer could be used. Political parties or any other group with an agenda to push could use it to influence people to see things their way. Is that really OK with you?

If you are not sure I have a right to "privacy within my own cranium"--that is the right to decide things for myself--if you even think it's possible that retailers have the right to collect data on people, without their knowledge or consent, and use it to influence their buying decisions to the retailers' advantage without regard to whether or not it benefits the person whose data is so used--I doubt that we will ever agree on this topic.

When I wrote "I told you I was paranoid", I was being sarcastic. I don't think I'm paranoid to object to being kept under surveillance without my consent. Do you think that's paranoid?
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:42 PM   #12
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I am still in total awe over facial recognition capabilities... Three or four years ago, I turned Picasa loose on about 20,000 pictures... After many, many, many hours of working, the result came up in a way that just amazed me. Pictures in a group of 25 people... roughly the same group 6 years apart... all correctly and individually identified. no matter hair, clothing, wrinkles, weight gain. Picture of son aged 6 matched with picture age 50.

The future possibilities are almost infinite, from matching faces in a rock concert crowd, to security... even beyond the capability of the retina scan, or fingerprints.

The scanning of drivers licence pictures for returns in department stores are currently being centrally processed to identify abuses of the return policy.
Beware serial returners! How retailers are joining forces to catch out shoppers who bring back too many purchases | Mail Online
According to the article, 62% of retailers have a similar policy.

Doesn't take too much imagination to see where this is leading.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:52 PM   #13
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I already enhance my shopping experience by NOT shopping...
My thoughts exactly. That's part of the reason I'm FI
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:40 PM   #14
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**If they were the police, they would have to provide probable cause and get a warrant to get this data. Why aren't retailers similarly restrained?**

I trust that you REALLY DO know the difference between an agency of the government that has the power to deprive you or life liberty and property and a mere merchant.

I suppose if you reeeeeeeeealy object, it would be WORTH IT to you to find out IF a particulart merchant engages in that practice and then... "tell the management [you disapprove] and [plan to ] take your business to places that do NOT have security systems. " THEN DO IT.

Sheesh. It really isn't THAT difficult.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:10 PM   #15
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:26 PM   #16
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:23 PM   #17
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I am still in total awe over facial recognition capabilities... Three or four years ago, I turned Picasa loose on about 20,000 pictures... After many, many, many hours of working, the result came up in a way that just amazed me. Pictures in a group of 25 people... roughly the same group 6 years apart... all correctly and individually identified. no matter hair, clothing, wrinkles, weight gain. Picture of son aged 6 matched with picture age 50. (snip)
Tell me more about Picasa. I've got old family photos with unidentified people in them. Even my mom doesn't know who all the people are. Maybe that would help figure out who's who.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:31 PM   #18
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... Anyway, according to the quote in the OP, security/theft prevention is not what these cameras are for. They are intended to "enhance the shopping experience, the product assortment, and help brands better understand their customers.” ...
I guess I look at this in the broader sense - it's just new technology for doing what has been done for ages.

Say a store has a 20% off sale, and it is in 10' tall block letters in bright RED. Aren't they trying to influence you? Do you object to that? Sometimes they have people in the store handing out offers/coupons - and I bet sometimes they have instructions - give this one to women, this to men, this to younger people, etc. Every bit of advertising and product display and coupon is meant to influence us. I take it upon myself to be responsible - I don't need to be 'protected' from advertising.

From the OP: It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by.

Well, certainly it makes sense for them to adjust their ads/offers to your age and gender. In general, buying habits are affected by age/gender. I would think race would be less of a predictor, but make-up and hair products are one thing I can think of that tend to be race specific.

So a woman walks into the store to buy a hand drill, and it offers up info about their sale on lipstick instead. Who cares?

So what if they know what I look like when I make a purchase? The cashier sees me - this is nothing new. I know a lot of people get worked up over seeing google display ads related to their search terms, but I have a hard time picturing this as anymore than ERD50 entered xyz serach term, so let's serve up an ad for xyz related products. I really don't think they care a rats behind about who ERD50 is or what he buys, other than to try to get him to click a link and make a sale. That would take a lot of work, and what would the pay-off be? I think the simple answer is enough.


ahhhh - from the article:

Quote:
The mannequin, which went on sale last December and is now being used in three European countries and the U.S., has led one outlet to adjust its window displays after revealing that men who shopped in the first two days of a sale spent more than women, according to Almax.
A clothier introduced a children’s line after the dummy showed that kids made up more than half its mid-afternoon traffic, the company says. Another store found that a third of visitors using one of its doors after 4 p.m. were Asian, prompting it to place Chinese-speaking staff by that entrance.
Makes sense to know who your customers are, and their timing. This looks like a good way for businesses to be more efficient, and maybe I get lower prices as a result. Fine with me, I don't understand the 'beef'.

-ERD50
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:41 PM   #19
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Tell me more about Picasa. I've got old family photos with unidentified people in them. Even my mom doesn't know who all the people are. Maybe that would help figure out who's who.
iPhoto has face recognition also, I assume similar to Picasso, but I'm not all that familiar with either.

In iPhoto, it scans and creates a database based on the features, and will link the ones that it determines are similar. At that point, you need to go in and assign a name to one that you recognize, and it will then assign that name to the similar-looking (to it) pictures. It will ask to confirm each.

So if the face is a total unknown to you, it won't help, unless you identified them in another photo, and the SW made a connection that escaped you (this is possible). I don't think any of these will go out and compare to images on the web, but maybe I'm wrong. But if we can't identify our own relatives, I doubt they are identified on the web anyhow.

It does it amazingly well, but sometimes (rarely) it is way off-base, a pattern on a rug might be called out as a face. It was confusing our DD and one of her friends, and I didn't even realize how similar they looked until I saw it coming up with these suggestions.

-ERD50
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:05 AM   #20
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I guess I look at this in the broader sense - it's just new technology for doing what has been done for ages.

Say a store has a 20% off sale, and it is in 10' tall block letters in bright RED. Aren't they trying to influence you? Do you object to that? Sometimes they have people in the store handing out offers/coupons - and I bet sometimes they have instructions - give this one to women, this to men, this to younger people, etc. Every bit of advertising and product display and coupon is meant to influence us. I take it upon myself to be responsible - I don't need to be 'protected' from advertising.

From the OP: It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by.

Well, certainly it makes sense for them to adjust their ads/offers to your age and gender. In general, buying habits are affected by age/gender. I would think race would be less of a predictor, but make-up and hair products are one thing I can think of that tend to be race specific.

So a woman walks into the store to buy a hand drill, and it offers up info about their sale on lipstick instead. Who cares?

So what if they know what I look like when I make a purchase? The cashier sees me - this is nothing new. I know a lot of people get worked up over seeing google display ads related to their search terms, but I have a hard time picturing this as anymore than ERD50 entered xyz serach term, so let's serve up an ad for xyz related products. I really don't think they care a rats behind about who ERD50 is or what he buys, other than to try to get him to click a link and make a sale. That would take a lot of work, and what would the pay-off be? I think the simple answer is enough.


ahhhh - from the article:



Makes sense to know who your customers are, and their timing. This looks like a good way for businesses to be more efficient, and maybe I get lower prices as a result. Fine with me, I don't understand the 'beef'.

-ERD50
I guess my beef is something you either "get" or "don't get". I don't "get" the appeal of reality shows or football. I simply don't understand why people enjoy these things, let alone get excited about them. They hold no appeal whatsoever for me. It's pretty obvious most of the other posters on this thread don't "get" what I find so disturbing and objectionable about this monitoring by concealed cameras and any other form of snooping into my personal lives done in the name of "enhancing the shopping experience" or some other excuse.

To answer your question in the first paragraph, yes, the store tries to influence me with their displays, coupons, etc. But I can look away from their billboard, turn off the TV during their commercials (or not watch it at all), discard their mailings without reading them, and say "no thanks" when the person tries to hand me a coupon. I can make a list of what I need to buy before I go to the store and not look at the displays other than to tell whether I'm in the right part of the store to get what I came in for. I can to some extent reject their attempts to influence me, because I can see them coming and avoid them. But I can't say to the concealed camera "don't take my picture", I can't say to the computer "don't run your algorithm and recognize my face, and don't associate my appearance with my purchases". I can't erase my file from the store's database, once it's there. I can't stop the store from selling data about me to other parties, again without my consent. I have no control at all over who accumulates data about me, or what use they make of it. There's no "do not track" list. It is like being stalked. Even if the stalker doesn't attack, even if he offers flowers and candy, it's still a personal violation to be tracked without my consent by some person or persons, for their own motives, however benevolent they may claim those motives to be. And I don't believe for a moment that the stores' motives really are benevolent. You put your finger on it when you wrote "I really don't think they care a rats behind about who ERD50 is or what he buys, other than to try to get him to click a link and make a sale." All they want is to maximize their profits, by getting me to buy something, anything, regardless of whether the product sold really benefits me or meets my genuine need or a real desire, and by selling data about me to others to use for whatever purpose those others may choose.
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