SceneTap Controversy Discussed by the Ethics Sage

Creepy Facial Recognition App Raises Privacy Concerns – Ethics Sage

You’re single and looking for someone to meet so you go to one of the bars in your home town. You decide to use a new app to scan the faces of patrons in the bars in the downtown area to determine the ages and genders of customers in the bars. You then check your smartphone for real-time updates on the crowd size, average age and male-to-female mix to decide whether the scene is to your liking. Then, you pick out the bar that best suits your needs and off you go to mingle with the crowd. Is it fact or fiction?

It is happening right now. On May 17, the Austin, Texas-based makers of SceneTap launched an app that can do just that. The app doesn’t identify specific individuals or save personal information. SceneTap’s ability to guess how old people are and whether they’re men or women relies on advances in a field known as biometrics. A camera at the door snaps your picture, and software maps your features to a grid. By measuring distances such as the length between the nose and the eyes and the eyes and the ears, an algorithm matches your dimensions to a database of averages for age and gender.

Creepy Facial Recognition App Raises Privacy Concerns – Ethics Sage

The computer has brought us many benefits but it also provides new opportunities to lose privacy. This one is apparently being used for lounge lizards to scan their female prey, not very edifying. So, what’s next – scanners that track your visits to stores, sidewalks and communities. What kind of privacy are we going to have left?

James Pilant

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