Friday, May 25, 2012

You Are Being Watched

There is this new app called SceneTap which scans the faces of customers to determine age and gender.

The new smartphone app SceneTap also employs facial-detection software and cameras placed in bars and nightclubs to reveal the age and gender makeup of an establishment.
So, if you plan an night on the town you can check your app and see if this is your kind of crowd.
The issue is however, customers being scanned by cameras don't always know that they're being monitored. Some privacy advocates call it "creepy," saying it's an invasion of privacy.

How does the app work?
The people behind SceneTap have installed cameras in bars in San Francisco; Austin, Texas; Athens, Ga.; Bloomington, Ind.; Chicago; Gainesville, Fla.; and Madison, Wis. The cameras use facial-detection software, which unlike facial-recognition software, only picks up on basic data about people and can't specifically identify faces. SceneTap uses this information to come up with a rundown of ages and sexes, so the app can give users real-time updates on which nightspots are full of women, or men, and how old or young the crowd is.

While we were discussing SceneTap we remembered that science fiction writer Elizabeth Moon believes that everyone should be given a barcode at birth.

“If I were empress of the Universe I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached - a barcode if you will; an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals."

"It would be imprinted on everyone at birth. Point the scanner at someone and there it is."

"This could prevent mistakes in identity..."

"Anonymity would be impossible as would mistaken identity making it easier to place responsibility accurately..."

In the novel 1984 George Orwell describes that everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities. The people are constantly reminded of this by the phrase "Big Brother is watching you."