Growing number of businesses using face recognition - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Growing number of businesses using face recognition

It's Friday night, you walk into a new bar.   They check your ID, but that's not all they may be checking.   A growing number of bars are using software to recognize your face.

"It's helpful to businesses who want to know who their customers are," says Rafe Needleman, cnet.com editor-at-large.

Some malls are also testing the technology.  

"They will recognize your age or your gender so if you walk up to a display wall at a retail establishment or mall or something like that and if you're a mid 40s white guy maybe they'll give you an ad for a BMW. If you're a woman, 20's, maybe you'll get an ad for something else," said Neeleman. "It's a matter of time before stores start using technology that not only recognizes but tracks your spending habits, so when you walk in a store it might know who you are just when you walk in and give you deals based on your past purchases." 

Not everyone wants that kind of information recorded and shared.  

"Extremely troubled because where's the privacy? I just want to go in the store, conduct my business and go on my way," said Mark Eichorn of the FTC believes.  

Privacy is one of the biggest concerns the federal trade commission has with this technology. He says take a recent study at Carnegie Mellon, "they took photos from a dating site where people were anonymous or using pseudonyms and they also got information from a social networking site where they had in general people's real name. Using facial recognition technology they were able to identify a lot of those users who were anonymous on the dating site."  

"What's being used right now are app's that will look at a biz, say a bar and see how many men versus women there are, or their ages, so you can see what the scene is like at the bar," said Needleman.  

So it's not just a privacy issue, but safety as well.  

The FTC is worried about where this technology can take us. That's why Needleman says we need to be careful about where we are going. 

"It's not out of the question that ten years from now we'll walk down the street and people will be wearing camouflage so they're not picked up by facial recognition trackers all over the place," he said.

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