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Facial Recognition: An Eventuality

Kai Ryssdal and Austin Cross Jun 23, 2015
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Targeted advertising is everywhere these day. Be it your Facebook profile, your browser history or anything else online, all of your data is being collected for one purpose: to sell you more stuff.

Now there’s a new frontier in tracking technology: Facial recognition software. Companies want to be able to track your identity and keep note of the things you regularly consumer a near-constant basis.

“Connecting a person’s past behavior and data to their current location is kind of a holy grail for companies when it comes to marketing,” says Ben Johnson, host of Marketplace Tech. “Imagine you go into a store and there’s a camera on the shelf of items that you’re looking at, and that camera records the emotional reaction you have to the items you’re looking at.”

Facial recognition could make its way into many public spaces.  However, privacy advocates are hoping that it will be opt-in only so that those who do not wish to make their identity open to the public have those wishes respected. “A lot of companies don’t want this,” Johnson says. “This is where these two kinds of organizations really part ways and are really having problems coming to an agreement on some sort of rules of the road.”

Still, most experts agree that this is an eventuality. “We have to think about the fact that no matter what, technology companies are going to build this stuff, they’re going to start using this stuff,” Johnson says. “They’re going to ask for forgiveness, not permission.”

To hear the whole conversation, click the audio player above.

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