Smile, Tesco Big Brother is watching you queue - to cue tailored ads
Sunday 03 November 2013
Customers at Tesco now face the prospect of having their faces scanned while they queue for the till as the supermarket tries to better target advertising towards customers.
The system, developed by Amscreen, a division of Sir Alan Sugar’s company run by his son, Simon Sugar, involves screens being placed at the tills of all of Tesco’s 450 petrol stations. Each includes an in-built camera which will use face-detection technology to calculate the age and sex of those queuing plus the location and time – as well as monitoring the customer’s purchases.
It opens up the possibility for the retailer to run tailored adverts, for example by promoting women’s magazines if it detects women in the queue, or coffee for the morning rush. Tesco and the company, who have signed a five-year deal, estimate the “OptimEyes” system, which will run ads up to 10 seconds on a 100-second loop, could reach up to five million people.
Mr Sugar told The Grocer that while it sounded like something from a sci-fi film, he was looking at rolling out the system to a number of supermarkets. “Yes, it’s like something out of Minority Report,” he said, “but this could change the face of British retail.” He added that customers should not be worried about their privacy when the system was in use.
Privacy campaigners say the system puts forward a "huge consent issue".
Nick Pickles of Big Brother Watch said: "Scanning customers as they walk through the store without customers ever giving permission for them to be scanned in that way...there's a huge consent issue there."
Mr Pickles said facial recognition technology is getting more advanced all the time, adding that you could be queuing to pay for groceries and a CCTV camera could be "literally scanning who you are".
He said companies and stores using this system must tell their customers.
"If people were told that every time they walked into a supermarket, or a doctor's surgery or a law firm, that the CCTV camera in the corner is trying to find out who they are, I think that will have a huge impact on what buildings people go into," he said.
Mr Pickles said the only way the systems can be ethically deployed is if consumers opt in to have their image stored and their behaviour tracked, rather than there being no choice in the matter.
Additional reporting by Press Association
Life & Style blogs
Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time: 10 worst gadgets of recent times
Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
The secret to a great sex life revealed: Two cups of coffee a day
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
Teenager tries to buy elderly homeless man breakfast at McDonald's but is told homeless people cannot be served under 'new policy'
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
- 2 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 3 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
- 4 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
- 5 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...