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Facial recognition technology picks you out of the crowd

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Facial recognition technology which is gaining ground in forensic applications is now here to identify a VIP, which is you at the hotel or store and your spending habits, explores The New York Times Bits section today.

The NEC Corporation, for instance, is working on ‘V.I.P. identification’ software, based on face recognition, for hotels and other businesses ‘where there is a need to identify the presence of important visitors.’

FaceFirst in Camarillo, Calif. has a goal to soon complement their shoplifter-identification services with parallel programs to help retailers recognize customers for preferential treatment. The gaming industry utilized the company to spot the con artists, counters and the good guys that the casino wants to attract and provide great VIP service.

The FaceFirst marketing section of its website provides the benefits of its technology: ‘Instantly, when a person in your FaceFirst database steps into one of your stores, you are sent an email, text or SMS alert that includes their picture and all biographical information of the known individual so you can take immediate and appropriate action.’

Joseph Rosenkrantz, the chief executive of FaceFirst, envisages stores using the software to recognize shoppers and immediately send personalized offers to their phones. But he expects retailers to seek permission from their customers first and states, ‘That would require opt-in consent.’

This week technology industry experts and consumer advocates are meeting in Washington D.C. this Thursday to discuss facial recognition. The event is the first of a series on the topic organized by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Agency officials expect that participants will eventually hammer out a voluntary industry code of conduct for the technology’s use.

The meetings are part of an initiative, introduced in 2012 by the White House, to draft and enact baseline federal consumer privacy legislation. Last year the telecommunications industry leaders met and agreed upon notices that apps could display before they were downloaded, alerting users if an app collected material, like photos or contact lists, from their phones.

Yet Joseph Atick, a pioneer in facial recognition, views the technology as much more powerful than current consumer-tracking tools. Facial recognition may soon let companies link a person’s online persona with his or her actual offline self at a specific public location. That could seriously threaten our ability to remain anonymous in public.

‘I don’t think there has ever been a capability that converged in this way to give people power over you,’ Mr. Atick says.

But rather than react to the data-mining technique of the day, some regulators want Congress to pass a law giving consumers basic rights to control how intimate details about them are collected and used, no matter the technology.

Of facial recognition, Jessica Rich, the director of the bureau of consumer protection at the Federal Trade Commission, says: ‘This is another reason that we need omnibus privacy legislation.’

To view more articles on technology developing recognition, please, see the list below in Author's suggestions and view the video atop this article how to prevent facial recognition from GeniusStuff.

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