The general theme of late has been a bit of a broken record. Your ever diminishing civil liberties and the meteoric rise of the surveillance state. Let's review; they are now listening to our phone calls, reading our email, photographing our envelopes, following us on skype, recording our license plates, storing our dna samples, tracking our G.P.S. location, filing our fingerprint records, recogniting our faces, tracking our search habits and associates, and engaging in a host of other shenanigans and intrusions that we probably aren't even aware of yet. Stop me if I missed something.
Yesterday I read an interesting article on a new way that we are also being seriously tracked, by private companies when we enter their stores. This is pretty amazing. How long you linger, where you go, they can even recognize repeat customers by their wireless signal. Read the article I saw in the New York Times. Watch the video here.
Cameras have become so sophisticated, with sharper lenses and data-processing, that companies can analyze what shoppers are looking at, and even what their mood is.*
For example, Realeyes, based in London, which analyzes facial cues for responses to online ads, monitors shoppers’ so-called happiness levels in stores and their reactions at the register. Synqera, a start-up in St. Petersburg, Russia, is selling software for checkout devices or computers that tailors marketing messages to a customer’s gender, age and mood, measured by facial recognition.
“If you are an angry man of 30, and it is Friday evening, it may offer you a bottle of whiskey,” said Ekaterina Savchenko, the company’s head of marketing.
Nomi, of New York, uses Wi-Fi to track customers’ behavior in a store, but goes one step further by matching a phone with an individual.
When a shopper has volunteered some personal information, either by downloading a retailer’s app or providing an e-mail address when using in-store Wi-Fi, Nomi pulls up a profile of that customer — the number of recent visits, what products that customer was looking at on the Web site last night, purchase history. The store then has access to that profile.
“I walk into Macy’s, Macy’s knows that I just entered the store, and they’re able to give me a personalized recommendation through my phone the moment I enter the store,” said Corey Capasso, Nomi’s president. “It’s literally bringing the Amazon experience into the store.”
Nomi then uses Wi-Fi signals to follow the customer throughout the store, adding to the information it maintains. “If I’m going and spending 20 minutes in the shoe section, that means I’m highly interested in buying a pair of shoes,” Mr. Capasso said, and the store might send a coupon for sneakers.
|Gaze differential between men and women|
Eyetrackers know exactly what you are looking at.
Perception Research Services Eye Tracking.
Euclid offers Google Analytics for the real world.
On another front, perhaps a serious security problem with Google Glasses.
If Google Glass users took a picture that happened to have a QR code visible in the background, the Glass would process that QR code as if the user had scanned it directly, and would attempt to link to the specified URL. If Glass wasn't previously connected to a Wi-Fi network, the act of trying to open a URL might cause Glass to search for available networks in order to complete the process.Google is supposedly fixing the problem.
This is a serious vulnerability, as criminals could create an open Wi-Fi network, stick it in a public place and then place a QR code in that public place that either directly or indirectly initiates a connection to that network.
If a Google Glass wearer happened to take a picture in that area that captured an image of that QR code, Google Glass would interpret the code as if the user had intended to scan it, and connect to that network.If that were to happen, your Glass would be cooked: criminals could then use that connection to transmit malicious software, all without the user ever intending to connect to the network or even photograph the QR code in the first place.