Consumer Watch: How your face can get you shopping deals

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by WHAS11

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 15, 2012 at 4:59 PM

(WHAS11) -- A new facial recognition camera that tracks your shopping habits via Facebook is being tested. It could mean good deals for you, if you are willing to give up some privacy.
 
A new service called "Face-deals" uses cameras set-up in stores, restaurants and bars. Facial-recognition matches up your image with your profile and pictures on Facebook, then it can send you a customized offer from that store. But only if you give permission beforehand. "Face-deals" uses Facebook's open platform but is not otherwise connected to Facebook.
 
The service was developed by the marketing firm Red-Pepper, which uses a promotional video to take you through it. Log into facebook, grant "Face-deals" permission to image you verify your likeness. "when a face is confidently recognized, the deal is set into action," said Washington native Brian Todd. The deal is then as the company says "dynamically optimized."
 
That means your face is read, then matched up with your Facebook "like" history. The "Face-deals" system then delivers your coupon, your customized discount, right to your mobile device. It's whiz-bang, has laser-like efficiency that concerns privacy advocates.

“It's not simply their identity. On Facebook, for example, it would be their network of friends. It would be their likes and interests. A lot of that information would become available and I don't think people would agree to that," said Marc Rotenberg from the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
 
Red-Pepper’s CEO Ted McMullen does not agree. "We're not actually going to be pulling all of the data. Not to mention, applications that we do for retail companies all around the country that kind of stuff-people allow apps, applications all the time. It's like allow this app, and that is essentially saying that we can have access to your network and I think that's sort of a line and a comfort line that people are moving towards as long as that information is not mis-used," said McMullen. 
 
Facebook is a big part of this process and that "Face-deals" logo looks very similar to Facebook's. A Facebook spokesman told WHAS11 the company is not commenting on "Face-deals."  It just wants to make sure people make informed decisions about the apps they use. The Red-Pepper CEO says his agency has been in contact with Facebook and when the camera is actually set up in stores, the name and logo will be different.

 

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