An App That Tells You Who’s In a Bar

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It can tell you how many men and women are inside and their average age. But does it invade your privacy?

The Boston Globe reports on SceneTap, which debuted last year and is used at many bars in the area…

SceneTap gathers data by collecting images from what is called a facial detection reader inside the bars. It locks in on a silhouette from the neck up and measures 14 data points on the featureless face, determining within seconds whether the subject is male or female and the person’s approximate age. It’s not facial recognition, like the picture-taking technology used at airports. But because SceneTap’s patent application includes language about facial recognition, some critics worry it’s only a matter of time before the company tries to collect more detailed information.

It can’t identify individuals (yet), but that doesn’t stop people from worrying. Or the government from watching. According to the article, the Federal Trade Commission established guidelines for the technology in part because of the company’s patent application, which includes ideas for how to check the criminal background and income level of visitors in real time.

Stacy Johnson

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