Facedeals: Helpful or Horrifying?

As much as I put myself out there, the idea of being in front of a camera is still very new to me. Like many folks, I enjoy having a basic sense of privacy when out and about with my family or visiting a store. The chances of someone recognizing me or knowing what stores I frequent has been a variable that I’ve had at least some control over, but this may change very soon with services like Facedeals appearing on the horizon.

A business supporting Facedeals would basically put a special camera at the entrance of its store. The camera reads and recognizes faces of people as they come in, and sends coupons (deals) to their phone while they’re in the store. It sounds like an easy way to take advantage of Facebook’s check-in feature without having to take out your phone and access a specific app to do so.

Facedeals is, at this time, an opt-in feature for both the store and the customer. While stores will undoubtedly never lose this opt-in leverage, customers might not have that same freedom. There’s nothing to stop the device from scanning your face whether you like it or not. The scan, combined with information about what you like from Facebook, enables Facedeals to send you deals that are specific to you.

I’m not personally a big fan of any service that requires me to have my face scanned as I enter a business, whether I opt into it or not. If I visit a local store to get a gift for my wife, I don’t want to be automatically checked in for the world to see just because it happened to catch my face there. Where’s the element of surprise in that? What’s to keep it from misidentifying me and tagging me somewhere I didn’t go?

Another concern is the security of the data. Are these facial scans being kept somewhere? Hackers are constantly gaining access to information through third-party services such as these, and I could only imagine what facial scan data or location frequencies could make possible.

I really don’t care if this is an opt-in service or not. It’s just another way that my face is being scanned and uploaded to the Internet in a way I don’t know about nor really want to deal with. It’s just another reminder that privacy doesn’t exist anymore.

For now, you don’t have to worry about it appearing in the doorway of your favorite hangout. Facedeals is currently in the fundraising stage as it attempts to gain the financial backing it needs to begin production and implementation on a large scale. Testing is taking place, but it’s not like these boxes will be at your local bar in the next few months.

I don’t mean to put a tinfoil hat on or cause any undo stress among frequent clubgoers. This appears, on the surface, to be a relatively harmless value-add that could make getting deals on things you love easier. Where my concerns lie are in what implications technologies like these will have on the rest of us. What about you? Would you let your face get scanned for a discount?

Image: RedPepper / Facedeals

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