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article imageFacedeals: An offer we should probably refuse (update)

By Dierdra Baptiste     Aug 14, 2012 in Technology
Facial recognition just got real as Redpepper begins testing its product on the public through business to consumer deals.
We’ve all done it. A quick trip to the store without bothering to think what we look like. Or a sick day from work that turned into a day at the mall, movies or beach. They’ll soon be captured as a "check-in" and posted in your Facebook feed without anyone telling you to smile for the Candid Camera.
Developed by Redpepper, a Nashville, Tenn advertising agency, comes a camera and system they've named Facedeals to be used as an app with Facebook. Businesses install the camera and once someone has added the app on Facebook, they’ll be recognized and checked in at any location with the device.
The “deals” part comes in because loyal customers are rewarded with discounts based on their frequent “check-ins” to the establishment as well as their "likes" and activity preferences on Facebook.
To add to the mix, in June, Facebook bought, and API, the development platform and power behind the face recognition app Klik. This new technology works in conjunction with Facebook and tags new photos taken on a mobile device before being uploaded to the site. All use the recognizable features of height, weight, age, race, gender and even mood.
There’s a trend in businesses warming to the idea of facial recognition to increase revenue. With so few left that don’t have a Facebook business/fan page, it’s hard to imagine ones that wouldn’t invest in this deal. The consumer, in return, gets marked down items, free gifts or whatever the business chooses to give. Sounds like a win/win all the way around.
But does this infringe on our privacy rights? What does it mean for a Mom who likes the app and perks but would rather not have 35 likes on her "check-in" at the gynecologist. How about a husband who might be skipping out on his diet and just wants to anonymously eat a burger and fries on the way home? And those are minor examples with the extreme being pretty invasive, including where one banks to where they pick up their kids.
Some would say it's not a violation of privacy because no one is forced have the Facedeals app. However, it’s logical to think that eventually businesses and law enforcement will work together with this or similar technology for theft, safety and burglary purposes. At that point, a Facebook application will no longer be necessary.
This might seem a little too Minority Reportish and somewhat unnerving for some but there’s time to adjust. Facedeals is still in the beta testing stage in Nashville. Not too long though. There’s plenty of other facial recognition technology users out there in places that we’re not aware.
Here’s looking at you, Kid.
*update – Instagram has released it's new 3.0 upgrade and as reported by Forbes, “Instagram is on its way to turning your iPhone into a window to the world. As millions of users snap away with their smartphones, Instagram could become a real time Google Streetview, but better–it will get you off the street and into homes, bars and stadiums.”
Instagram was purchased by Facebook for $757 million dollars earlier this year. Will the Instagram upgrade with streetview and Facedeals facial recognition be combined? And, if so, where does willing participation end and privacy invasion begin?
More about Facebook, facebook privacy, Facedeals, facial recognition technology, Privacy concerns
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