Facedeals stirring up privacy concerns

[Facedeals](http://redpepperland.com/lab/details/facedeals) has been getting attention lately for a new technology that uses FB data to match video of customers coming into shops and determine identity and likes, then send customers contextualized coupons for that store. There are many concerns coming from privacy advocates and even FB is keeping silent on this.Here’s how redpepper describes facedeals: “Facial recognition cameras are installed at local businesses. These cameras recognize your face when you pass by, then check you in at the location. Simultaneously, your smartphone notifies you of a customized deal based on your Like history.”

Others have been [weighing](http://www.geek.com/articles/gadgets/facial-recognition-system-facedeals-checks-you-in-sends-you-deals-20120815/) in on this. Of course, Facedeals is mainly for the benefit of businesses. Companies will know who their most loyal customers are and the use of the social network means brand awareness will spread to all of the customer’s Facebook friends.

The technologies upon which this is built are mainly OS: [Raspberry Pi](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi), [Arduino](http://www.arduino.cc), [OpenCV](http://opencv.willowgarage.com/wiki/), and [Facebook Graph API](http://www.programmableweb.com/api/facebook-graph).

While the hw is pretty neat, and OpenCV is astonishing in what it puts into the hands of application developers, the facebook api was meant to open up the data that is in FB, which is what is happening here. FB will not publicly comment on Facedeals, but there were reports that FB has made certain that facedeals’ logo gets changed from looking pretty much like the FB logo. I guess the Zuckstar is feeling the heat with their [IPO](http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9230360/Should_Facebook_unfriend_Zuckerberg_over_slumping_stock_price_) still tanking!

But in addition to the fear that privacy advocates are feeling about someone being able to track your movements, I am afraid of network and connectionist methods that will happen with this data. So now *bigbrand* knows that you’re in the shop and texts you a coupon for a mocha or condoms, all depending on how they rate your profile. But they can also pull your friends, so how do we know that they don’t send a similar coupon to your friends? It’s fair game since its in the graph. Remember, facedeals doesn’t need to leverage the external graph, but rather could ask people to register their identify with their image on a business’ own db.

But the other sinister effect that I will predict here is a new business coming along to sell a cloud service to facedeal-like subscribing businesses that then pool that data, nothing illegal necessarily, and thus now *bigdrugs.com* knows what/when you, or your friends, were buying at the restaurant and concert and bar afterwards the night before, so they send you hangover coupons. That pooled data could get very, *very* scary. The pooling of data by individual shops that must happen to use facedeals like technology *will* lead to larger pools that will be out of the power of the individuals, the data points, in the pools.

The only ones who win in this trend are businesses able to sell more effectively, and agencies able to monitor more effectively. Again, I find myself writing about the dangerous pool of data that FB gets to determine how to leverage for *their benefit*.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *