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Facial Recognition Cameras Peering Into Some SF Nightspots

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the why-I-never-leave-the-house dept.

Privacy 133

Fluffeh writes "On Friday, a company called SceneTap flipped the on switch enabling cameras installed in around 20 bars to monitor how full the venues are, the mix of men and women, their ages — and to make all this information available live via an iPhone or Android app. Privacy advocates are unimpressed, though, as the only hint that people are being monitored is via tiny stickers on the windows. Beyond academics and policy experts, some San Francisco bar owners that originally partnered with SceneTap have said that they're pulling out and will be taking down the company's cameras. An increasing number of bars still listed on the SceneTap's site are now saying that they're not working with the Chicago startup, including Mr. Smith's, Southpaw, John Colins, and Bar None."

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Much ado (3, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059805)

FWIW, I've lived in San Francisco for 17 years and I've heard of maybe one of these bars. I wouldn't want to extrapolate any kind of "trend" out of this. As the summary suggests, I think there's more press release than reality here.

Re:Much ado (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060015)

Probably because they're not gay bars. If it was "The Man Hole" or "Rod's" or "The Hairy Bear", you would be more familiar.

Re:Much ado (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060519)

Where's your evidence PCM2 even uses Apple products?

Bending over for Microsoft is SOP and doesn't count.

Re:Much ado (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#40063273)

Probably because they're not gay bars. If it was "The Man Hole" or "Rod's" or "The Hairy Bear", you would be more familiar.

Non-sequitur: why would a gay patron care about the female/male ratio? Or do you see any restaurant posting online how many fruit-flies it has buzzing around in its dining room?

Re:Much ado (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060267)

I've worked in San Francisco for 12 years and lived in San Francisco for the past 4 of them. If you don't know these bars, get out more. Or stop claiming they're obscure or unknown.

Re:Much ado (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060277)

You're a regular slashdotter with a 4-digit ID, I'm not sure it means much that you haven't heard of certain bars.

Re:Much ado (1)

228e2 (934443) | about 2 years ago | (#40061623)

All of my karma . . . .

Re:Much ado (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40060993)

I hardly go into SF and I've been to both of these bars...get out more.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40061263)

The point is that San Francisco is a focal point of Big Brother oversight, because it is more likely to be a security problem in the future. After living there, it is obvious it is heavily patrolled/controlled after the instability during the 60s/70s. The current protests are now simply a gesture to help support tourism, but they do provide non-profit workers with a hobby. However, despite the fact it is a very docile city, it remains an area where ideology has threatened the establishment in the past. The funny part is that they are trying to watch people as they eat/drink, rather than the UK-style street-corner cameras (research seems so harmless, so it is easier to get approved). A better twist on this whole thing, is if they instead moved the cameras into fast-food restaurants, since the imagery would be completely disgusting as you watched non-stop greasy slurping noises from fat fried in oil. Perhaps that research might be more relevant to America as a whole.

Re: (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40061957)

The problem with that assertion is that the ideology is the establishment in San Francisco. As to being a "security problem", San Francisco could be in open rebellion from now until the heat death of the universe and not threaten anyone's (particularly, any establishment's) security outside of the city borders.

It's just a case of some dumb business stretching laws.

since the imagery would be completely disgusting as you watched non-stop greasy slurping noises from fat fried in oil

I find it interesting how certain memes just tie into each other. Here we are talking about some nebulous Big Brother putting down the fine people of San Francisco and suddenly you segue into fast food bashing. The human mind is a remarkable piece of hardware, but it sure makes some loopy connections sometimes.

Re:Much ado (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40061581)

I lived in the South Bay for 6 months and I have been to two of these bars, and know about one more. May be, you are already settled into a pattern and bar, to you, means one particular bar?

More covert THEY LIVE cameras (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40059867)

Traffic Cameras: Government Surveillance?
http://usahitman.com/traffic-cameras-a-part-of-big-brother-police-state/ [usahitman.com]

Scariest speed camera of all... It checks your insurance, tax and even whether you are tailgating or not wearing a seatbelt
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1326035/Speed-camera-checks-insurance-tax-wearing-seatbelt.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Talking Surveillance Cameras Coming To U.S. Streets
http://usahitman.com/tsccts/ [usahitman.com]

"it's just a light!" ... not anymore!!!

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060049)

I'm on board with the one that checks for current insurance. Install that fucker on every cop car.

OF course, it needs to come with the protection from using that information for anything else, but driving is not a fucking right, and when risking my life and livelyhood with a 4000lb weapon, society has decided that you must have insurance.

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (1, Flamebait)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060629)

I'm on board with the one that checks for current insurance. Install that fucker on every cop car.

why? it doesn't increase safety. If you want to protect yourself from litigiousness, do your part to minimize liability for traffic accidents. It's bad enough that insurance is marketed nowadays like it actually makes you safer on the road. it doesn't. it just makes insurance companies rich.

maybe if we didn't require insurance, and we made a lot of noise about it, people would pay more attention on the road. THAT would do a lot more for safety than enforcing draconian irrelevancies.

OF course, it needs to come with the protection from using that information for anything else, but driving is not a fucking right, and when risking my life and livelyhood with a 4000lb weapon, society has decided that you must have insurance.

oh.. well if SOCIETY says so, it must be right.. my bad. A society made up of majorities who can't be bothered to learn to drive well in the first place. yeah fuck you. I want to take away your insurance and MAKE you drive 'naked' on the road.. maybe then you'll get the fuck off your cellphones, leave the sex for the bedroom, and keep away from drugs while on the road. Then, if you hit someone, you'll be really fucked instead of making the rest of us pay for your ineptitude.

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (2)

c_sd_m (995261) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060699)

oh.. well if SOCIETY says so, it must be right.. my bad. A society made up of majorities who can't be bothered to learn to drive well in the first place. yeah fuck you. I want to take away your insurance and MAKE you drive 'naked' on the road.. maybe then you'll get the fuck off your cellphones, leave the sex for the bedroom, and keep away from drugs while on the road. Then, if you hit someone, you'll be really fucked instead of making the rest of us pay for your ineptitude.

Because not being "required" to have health insurance has made Americans the most health and safety conscious people in the world? Driving without insurance wouldn't change people's behavior much.

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (0)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#40060729)

Driving without insurance wouldn't change people's behavior much.

True only in the short-term.

Over the long-term Survival of The Fittest will eventually produce better drivers.

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40061783)

The poor drivers would have to die before they have a chance to reproduce. Conversely, poor drivers are more likely to kill the innocent kids of good drivers, before they themselves have a chance to reproduce.

Yeah, that explains things.

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40060989)

well good, then darwin in action.. the stupid are taken out of the equation.. you want to claim that americans are dumb and fat? lets filter that out of the gene pool. as an american, I don't have a problem with that.

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (1)

rhook (943951) | about 2 years ago | (#40061981)

Right, because requiring car insurance has caused people to drive safer. You sir are a moron.

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (1)

rhook (943951) | about 2 years ago | (#40061985)

Strike that, I misread your comment.

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40062103)

why? it doesn't increase safety.

Yes it does. The sort of person who doesn't have insurance probably doesn't care too much about a lot of other stuff, too, like maintenance, tire pressures, etc.

They're also raising the insurance rates of everybody who does give a damn.

Get 'em off the road, I say. There's no "right" to drive, it's a privilege.

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (2)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 2 years ago | (#40063055)

I'm on board with the one that checks for current insurance. Install that fucker on every cop car.

why? it doesn't increase safety. If you want to protect yourself from litigiousness, do your part to minimize liability for traffic accidents. It's bad enough that insurance is marketed nowadays like it actually makes you safer on the road. it doesn't. it just makes insurance companies rich.

Because the next time some moron hits me because they are too entrhalled in the cell phone conversation they are having, or texting, there will be a better chance that at least their insurance company will pay for my repairs, rather than it coming out of my or my insurance company's pocket, which has happened before.

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40061715)

driving is not a fucking right

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

How can I "peaceably assemble", if I can't fucking get there, because I can't drive!?!?!

And don't dare mention public transit (doesn't exist in many places), taxis (you gonna pay for it?), or walking (not practical over a couple of miles, at most).

Re:More covert THEY LIVE cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40062799)

Jesus H Fucking Christ, you are such a stupid, fucking, morose, dickheaded fuckout.

needs moderation system (4, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40059871)

just need some vetted moderators to rank the attractiveness of people from either gay or straight perspective, then making tallies per gender per estimated age buckets (21-24, 25-28, 29-32, etc.) THEN you'd really have something.

Re:needs moderation system (4, Insightful)

slew (2918) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060053)

just need some vetted moderators

Perhaps the TSA [time.com] has some qualified folks for this job...

to rank the attractiveness of people from either gay or straight perspective

Apparently, we don't need real live moderators to rank attractiveness [www.ctv.ca] .. On the gay vs straight issue, not sure this helps much in a bar scene (for example, from a straight perspective, maybe I find a lesbian very attractive... not gonna help me much). However, if perhaps there really is gaydar [usnews.com] and they can figure out how to automate that...

then making tallies per gender per estimated age buckets (21-24, 25-28, 29-32, etc.)

That's what they are doing w/o the vetted moderators...

THEN you'd really have something.

I think privacy advocates already think there is something here...

Re:needs moderation system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40061317)

Based on the touching I get by TSA checkpoints in 2 major airports, I believe they already are doing this in an unofficial capacity. However, it is probably due to a lack of confidence that supports their need to find dating opportunities during working hours. I just always make sure to let them know that I am not into group things, and they continue to touch elsewhere.

Re:needs moderation system (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060083)

"just need some vetted moderators"

Crowdsource mods at 4chan!

What could possibly happen?

Re:needs moderation system (1, Funny)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060203)

That's a great suggestion - at least it'd balance all the postings by Cowards from Anonymous.

Re:needs moderation system (3, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#40061331)

What could possibly happen?

"Okay guys, I let you put your stupid cameras in my nightclub. Now tell me what the numbers were last night."

"Well, according to this, 134 police officers, 3 entirely separate instances of Prince somehow being there at the same time, 18 registered sex offenders, 22 donkeys, two thirds of the local city council, and an emperor penguin."

Re:needs moderation system (3, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 years ago | (#40064241)

I'm from Chicago, there would be considerable double and tripling counting the same people in the categories police officers, registered sex offenders, donkeys and the city council

Moderation System (1)

Guppy (12314) | about 2 years ago | (#40063021)

just need some vetted moderators to rank the attractiveness of people

"+1 Interesting"
"+1 Interesting"
"+1 Interesting"
...

"-1 Troll"

Note: The "Troll" moderation doesn't refer to behavior, either.

Re:needs moderation system (1)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 2 years ago | (#40064897)

Here's a crowdsourcing solution: You log into the site, and get a few faces to rank for attractiveness. The computer then finds other people that you'll also find attractive using the netflix algorithm [wikipedia.org] , and tells you what bar they're in.

(With premium membership, you can upload a photo of a persion you're stalking^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H interested in meeting, and they will use face recognition software to send you a message whenever he/she enters a bar.)

Relatively harmless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060051)

Considering what kind of records exist elsewhere, this company only tracks the number of males and females in a disco, and they say that they don't store any images.

Furthermore, the cameras are outside, not where the action is happening.

Re:Relatively harmless (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40062201)

So? It's only a matter of time before the police find out and start asking for copies of the recordings. Any kind of camera is a downhill slope.

waiting for activists to start police recognition (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060115)

With the reports of undercover officers instigating incidents at protests, I am waiting for the protesting activists to start a facial recognition database of police. In crowd hand held camera's and small toy remotes scanning and feeding images to a central system like this. Already at protests you see both sides scanning both ranks with cameras.

When you can snap a picture of someone with your iPhone and get a "police" or "not police" report - that will cause the *hit to hit the fan about all sorts of things.

Re:waiting for activists to start police recogniti (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | about 2 years ago | (#40062613)

Police wear helmets.

Re:waiting for activists to start police recogniti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40062903)

Not the undercover cops who are sent into crowds to instigate violence when convenient.

In San Fancisco? (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060165)

to monitor ....... the mix of men and women,

How can they differentiate between them?

Re:In San Fancisco? (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060335)

How can they differentiate between them?

Martians pay for drinks. Venetians don't.

Re:In San Fancisco? (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#40060783)

Martians pay for drinks. Venetians don't.

(a) I'm sure the people of Venice would dispute your claims
Remember the old joke: Q) How do you make a Venetian Blind? A) Poke out his eyes.

(b) Inhabitants of Venus would be called Venusians

Re:In San Fancisco? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060353)

Facial Recognition software.

Re:In San Fancisco? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40061037)

Your mom looks like a dude, how can they tell she's not?

Re:In San Fancisco? (2)

c_sd_m (995261) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060707)

Skin to clothing ratio?

Re:In San Fancisco? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#40061013)

How can they differentiate between them?

Uhm, they just err quite safely on the side of caution and flag everyone male.

Not being sexist, just that I've never seen a female geek out over network hardware: Fancisco

Re:In San Fancisco? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40061173)

If you can't tell you must get slapped or punched a lot.

Re:In San Fancisco? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#40061207)

to monitor ....... the mix of men and women,

How can they differentiate between them?

Does it really matter? If Eddie Murphy can't tell the difference, I don't think anyone of us can (until it's too late).

Expectation of privacy (5, Insightful)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060177)

I remember setting up a spare video camera in our lab back in the early 90's, capturing images and dumping them out onto an experimental web server we had running. This would be an early hack of the webcam concept.

I hadn't considered that it would be an issue. But my colleagues were distinctly not impressed, and so I quickly tore down the rig. I think that, to them, the lab was a private space. The camera violated their expectation of privacy, and they didn't like that. I've been thinking about it ever since.

The expectation of privacy is contextual, of course, and we each have rather firm internal rules about how it works. But often these rules are tacit even to us, so it's not easy to specify them in a way that would be generally useful. For example, is a bar a public space or a private one? See, it turns out to be both. We may go to a bar to meet people, in which aspect it's a public space. And we may also go there because it provides cover for having an intimate conversation, in which aspect it's private.

As an acceptable tradeoff between security and privacy, we may be okay with security cameras monitoring us, because we assume that those images ordinarily remain locked away in a box somewhere. If the same cameras were to put the same images on the web, we might consider that the tradeoff is no longer acceptable. What about the case where the images are to be scanned for identifying features by some third party? I think the answer will depend on whether we regard the resulting data as anonymizing us or identifying us and tracking our movements. And our legitimate reason to be concerned is that, once the images have been passed to other hands, we just can't know what will happen next.

Re:Expectation of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060381)

A bar is like the Internet.. There's no private conversation, nor should you expect to have one. There's people around, it's a public place, so any expectation of privacy shouldn't exist. It's no different than people who hold a "private conversation" on their cell phone in a store... I know people who are near them and answer them back, and the person the phone will bitch at them that it's a private conversation. Sorry, but if you want it to be a private conversation the do it in a private area.

Re:Expectation of privacy (4, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40060769)

it's not privacy by itself so much as anonymity working hand in hand with it.. it's one thing to be seen by humans at a club. it's another to be seen at a club by a network of cameras that upload your picture along with some (probably incorrect) heuristically generated stats to the internet (or worse, some marketing company's system for further analysis). sites like facebook took what was an innocuous event (friends taking pics of each other at a club) and turned it into an orwellian nightmare, not just because they make a publically accessible record of who was at the event, but because they use their own heuristics for auto-face recog. this shit DOES get abused.

Re:Expectation of privacy (1)

Koby77 (992785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060431)

So if I take a picture of the crowd at a nightclub and post it quickly, then it's okay. But if a service has a bunch of video cameras and takes a snapshot and has some software to look at it to judge how many people are there, then it's a privacy violation? I always thought the point of hanging out at bars and nightclubs was to be seen in public.

Re:Expectation of privacy (1)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060577)

You really need to work on your reading comprehension skills.

Re:Expectation of privacy (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40061029)

it's one thing to be seen by pepole.. it's another to be seen by a machine that makes a record of the event and uploads this fact, along with badly generated heuristics, to other systems belonging to people who don't give a shit what happens to you as a result of their use of said fact.

Re:Expectation of privacy (2)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#40061213)

I though it was a great idea to have web cams at all venues bars, clubs etc. that way you could check them out before going there. Dull and boring avoid it, over crowded avoid, odd looking patrons etc. For the same reason I now understand why bars and clubs avoided web cams, who wants reality interfering with advertising when it comes to the qualities of a bar, club etc. Nothing to do with protecting privacy and everything to do with protecting revenue.

Re:Expectation of privacy (2)

jmcvetta (153563) | about 2 years ago | (#40062047)

The DNA Lounge [dnalounge.com] in SF has had live webcams for years. Definitely useful for checking out whether a show is worth the $ they are asking. Fortunately they put on fairly good stuff, so looking at their webcast often makes me get off my ass and go out. Might not work so well for a venue that sucks..

Re:Expectation of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40061733)

"So if I take a picture of the crowd at a nightclub and post it quickly, then it's okay."

Nope... If picture taken by owner/organizator etc then maybe... at least I can think "his party, his rules, i accept it when i came to this place"
And if picture taken by a random patron, then I would be annoyed.. I wouldnt want to be a visiable background on someone's facebook picture.

Re:Expectation of privacy (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40065153)

I always thought the point of hanging out at bars and nightclubs was to be seen in public.

No..the point is to get laid....if not, you've been doing it wrong.

:)

Re:Expectation of privacy (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060679)

As an acceptable tradeoff between security and privacy, we may be okay with security cameras monitoring us

Sadly, there are some people that really do find this acceptable.

Re:Expectation of privacy (1)

starfishsystems (834319) | about 2 years ago | (#40061299)

Well, given the right circumstances, we might find all sorts of things beneficial. If it was my camera monitoring my property for my benefit, that's something I could like. Even though you, walking by at the moment that my camera is taking a shot, might not feel so happy about it.

So, obviously, there's a whole modus vivendi that we have to work out, a legitimate and necessary one, around these rather new situations. And there are people who will use this legitimate circumstance to try to get away with something not so legitimate. You're right to point that out.

Re:Expectation of privacy (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#40062279)

The expectation of privacy is contextual, of course, and we each have rather firm internal rules about how it works. But often these rules are tacit even to us, so it's not easy to specify them in a way that would be generally useful. For example, is a bar a public space or a private one? See, it turns out to be both. We may go to a bar to meet people, in which aspect it's a public space. And we may also go there because it provides cover for having an intimate conversation, in which aspect it's private.

While the expectation of privacy is contextual, the right to privacy is not. The legal standing is that when you're in a public place you have no right to privacy. I'm reminded of a photographer who did an experiment in NY recently, he went from shop to shop, restaurant to restaurant, and photographed the people inside... from the pathway. A colleague was videotaping the interactions from across the street. It's amazing the number of people who thought that someone didn't have the right to photography something he could plainly see while standing in a public place.

You want privacy, find yourself some private property. This is easier in some countries than others. I believe the US laws say that publicly accessible areas are public by definition, so a shopping mall is a public place, whereas I know countries like Australia consider them private properties.

Re:Expectation of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40062335)

Early 90's was an early hack of the webcam concept? I don't think so. Privacy is functional as is the distinction between nouns and adjectives. "Tacit" is an adjective. If peoples objections to having some dweeb monitor them are so hard to predict then you can try asking them prior to setting up a camera.

How's this different than ID scanners? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060257)

This seems just like a different manifestation of those ID scanners that some bars have installed, though less obvious to the patrons. Or perhaps they are linking the two systems so that they can tie the image captured by their cameras to the name, address, and date of birth from the scanned ID.

Glad I don't go to bars. :^)

Re:How's this different than ID scanners? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#40060781)

Or they don't do facial recognition at all, only triggering "male/female" and "going in/going out" and don't store the information beyond that, as it says in TFA had you bothered to read it.

That is, if you believe them. But if you don't, you probably aren't the sort of person likely to go out to bars much anyways, so it doesn't really matter.

Re:How's this different than ID scanners? (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40060933)

of course it matters when the majority accepts a new set of expectations as normal/expected... even if this guy chose never to go to a bar, this kind of carding will crop up in other places as the majority gets used to it.. eventually it will affect him.

Re:How's this different than ID scanners? (1)

Plunky (929104) | about 2 years ago | (#40061813)

Or they don't do facial recognition at all, only triggering "male/female" and "going in/going out" and don't store the information beyond that, as it says in TFA had you bothered to read it.

Heck, I didn't even read the fine summary and I know about the Facial Recognition part of it..

So, you might say they don't do facial recognition but actually they do.. they have a digital camera feed, and it is fed to a computer which analyzes the picture, extracts faces and analyzes them some more to detect which gender the person is. So, you say that they don't store the information beyond that, but hey, we are all nerds here and the majority are computer nerds. Don't try to tell us that a computer processing information cannot be modified very easily to store information, or forward it to another host for further processing. Is the computer on-camera, with a set of counters on the side of the device that the bar owners can read at their leisure? I doubt it.. I expect it is in a remote location, and what is more I expect that it already has a network connection and that the bar owner doesn't know anything about when it might be upgraded and what it would be capable of at that time.

Re:How's this different than ID scanners? (2)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#40061967)

Or they don't do facial recognition at all, only triggering "male/female" and "going in/going out" and don't store the information beyond that, as it says in TFA had you bothered to read it.

Which is perfectly fine. The problem is those images are arguably valuable. While the company may only use them for their intended purpose, if I come along and offer them tons of money for those images, think they'll turn me down? They're not being dishonest--they're still only triggering on those things you describe. They just don't mention what the other people are using the images for.

But I can think of a few private investigators who would give their eye-teeth to be able to look at those pictures to find cheating spouses. I'm sure the police wouldn't mind this either--being able to look at a license plate and find out how many drinks the owner of the car has had that night and when they had it? Stalkers, celebrity photographers being able to track when a specific person goes into a bar?

There's big money to be made in voyeurism.

Re:How's this different than ID scanners? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#40061357)

If they were done right, I wouldn't necessarily see what's wrong with ID scanners.

I mean, sure, there's a business building a database of their customers. You know what, though? That already happens. Pay by credit and it wouldn't be all that hard to compile a list of everyone who paid by credit at a bar or club and find out about repeat business.

Re:How's this different than ID scanners? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#40064521)

I'm sure it's being tied in. All the new rules for driver's licence photos (don't smile, remove glasses, no bangs) are there for facial recognition software, not for traffic cops.

Austin TX too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060287)

Today I was listening to the radio and I heard that they are being used in Austin, TX too. I guess that it helps where to find young females but what about wealthy men? It works only on image recognition and I am not sure that it scans for platinum or black AMEX.

1984 Was NOT intended as an Instruction Manual (4, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060391)

Bugger that or a bad nightmare.

Just as I *refuse* to enter any bar/club which requires to scan my drivers license (no seriously, trust us we very carefully throw away all the information, it's as if you were never scanned), I would also find somewhere else to drink rather than put up with this massive invasion of my right to at least some semblance of privacy.

Vote With Your Wallets, People.

Re:1984 Was NOT intended as an Instruction Manual (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#40061273)

I have always just erased the magstripe on my license using a strong permanent magnet.

It has always worked fine, as in it both fails on their scanner, and still allows me into the venue. It does take an extra few seconds for the door gunther to actually look at my ID, and sometimes he questions why it doesn't work ("I climb radio towers for a living" makes their eyes glaze over just enough, even though that's an apples-and-oranges thing).

Never did understand the point of scanning the magstripe, anyway. There's less far less security in the magstripe than there is in the holographic film over the printing, and it's trivial to undetectably modify the former but not the latter.

When I own a nightclub (which is one of my minor goals), there will be no scanners/cameras/whatever of any type capable of producing uniquely-identifiable information about my patrons in an automated way. Ever. Even if that means that I must operate in a different locality.

I might have a blurry webcam feed and some self-cleansing CCTV watching a few important spots, and it'll be just that: A blurry webcam feed, and a DVR that nukes old video after a day or two. (Blurry enough to see the crowd but not recognize the faces, with any improved video being kept locally and saved just long enough for me to notice that something is physically missing and begin tracking it down or provide evidence after a fight, but for a short enough period to avoid a subpoena).

Re:1984 Was NOT intended as an Instruction Manual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40061931)

Wait, your driver's license has a magstripe? Weird, I'm never heard of that. Every one I have ever seen has just a 2D barcode.

Re:1984 Was NOT intended as an Instruction Manual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40062003)

I have always just erased the magstripe on my license using a strong permanent magnet.

It has always worked fine, as in it both fails on their scanner, and still allows me into the venue. It does take an extra few seconds for the door gunther to actually look at my ID, and sometimes he questions why it doesn't work

I do the same with my CCs too. Make the bartenders punch in the numbers themselves... It's just safer.

Re:1984 Was NOT intended as an Instruction Manual (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#40062281)

I would also find somewhere else to drink rather than put up with this massive invasion of my right to at least some semblance of privacy.

Since when do you have a right to privacy in a public place?

Re:1984 Was NOT intended as an Instruction Manual (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#40062959)

Since when do you have a right to privacy in a public place?

Why does it need to be a right?

I don't have a constitutional right to good service by the serving staff at a restaurant, but that's not reason to accept being subjected to lousy service.

I'll find somewhere else to eat.

Similiarly, if a restaurant decides to invade my privacy, why shouldn't I decide to eat somewhere else?

I don't care in the slightest if the restaurant staff "see me", but I don't really want them mounting cameras at my table recording me eating my meal, and posting it on the web, along with facial recognition to tag me and the people im with.

I may not have some sort of constitutional "right to privacy" in a restaurant, but I sure as hell have the right to seek out restaurants that aren't run by complete asshats.

Re:1984 Was NOT intended as an Instruction Manual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40063009)

Just as I *refuse* to enter any bar/club which requires to scan my drivers license/quote>

Now this is interesting. My girlfriend worked for a nightclub that took photographs _and_ scanned your driver's license as you entered (there was a free members card so this did not have to be repeated if you wished).

Of the two other clubs in the same town center one had a violence problem and the other one was widely known by a slang term for snorting cocaine.

There was little violence and zero drug dealing at my girlfriend's club. I feel this was because of the ID requirements and the customers voted with their wallets that they WERE happy to prove their identity for a safe environment.

The plural of anecdote not being data notwithstanding, I think you should give a little thought to what you can get back as payment for proof of your identity.

Public webcams (3, Interesting)

barv (1382797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060429)

Around the world (eg central London) there are cameras covering some public spaces. I would like to see the output of those taxpayer funded cameras on the www. Privacy should be a non issue. Our culture will have to change because privacy in public places has (like copyright) been destroyed by technology.

If you want privacy, rent your own space, put it in a Faraday box and sweep it for bugs.

Otherwise all you do by not making those images public is deprive all but the powerful, the wealthy and the hackers of the information gathered by publicly funded cameras.

Re:Public webcams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40060465)

Privacy can't be destroyed by technology. The machines haven't declared war against their oppressors, yet.

Re:Public webcams (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40060891)

no. .the correct answer is to not collect the damn pictures in the first place. then no one has them.

Re:Public webcams (1)

barv (1382797) | about 2 years ago | (#40061503)

Governments have a genuine need for those "damn pictures". It is not hard to imagine scenarios for following/trace back of terrorists, violent criminals etc. We have a "hall of mirrors" situation here.

Suppose some business competitor (or whatever) wanted to learn whether you were meeting with people to form a cartel or some such. So he sets his spy apps to scan a relevant time period and trace (using facial/movement/voice recognition technology) who you met. However you could have set a "watch for the spies" app which would warn you that he has been spying on your meetings.

Personally I do not feel threatened by that collection of information, because the inverse is that if somebody was using that information to spy on me, I would expect that my guardian apps would warn me of that spy. Could i suggest that you just learn to live with it?

Re:Public webcams (4, Insightful)

able1234au (995975) | about 2 years ago | (#40061771)

There is always a need that can be justified but can you assure yourself they will limit it to that need?

It is good that you don't feel threatened but when you do it will be too late.

How about they show how this information will be protected, not abused, used only for the purpose they said it was going to be used before we let them. Large companies have trouble protecting confidential info such as credit cards. What is the likelihood that a government agency or simply a private eye might get access to this info? Pretty high i would assume.

And this information is kept forever and could be trotted out many years in the future. Do you want to be justifying what you did twenty years ago? Is it any of their business?

"then no one has them." (2)

barvennon (2643433) | about 2 years ago | (#40062199)

Above you said "then no one has them."

There are lots of private webcams all over the place. In shops, parking lots and god alone (aka Tax Dept) knows where else. These are all accessible by government (subpoena as last resort). Since they are privately owned and on private property, you are unlikely to be able to access that information as a right. And I don't see any practicable way of stopping people from photographing what is going on in their own property. ("practicable" here in the same sense as it was impracticable to control alcohol in the 20's, or psychoactive drugs since then. Sure you can make laws, but they won't be obeyed.)

So stopping governments putting out webcams only makes the situation worse. The info is there. Governments can access it. You have no right to access it.

You also said (further down) "It is good that you don't feel threatened but when you do it will be too late."

Not if the government thugs are photographed on public webcams doing questionable arrests. The more open we make information, the harder it is for the government to keep secrets. And government wrongdoing relies on keeping government activities secret.

Also "And this information is kept forever and could be trotted out many years in the future. Do you want to be justifying what you did twenty years ago?"

OTOH. If some miscreant was doing something very naughty I would love it if he was caught even 20 years later. I view it as a situation similar to those people who are now being convicted or set free because genetic technology not previously available either proves or disproves their guilt.

Re:"then no one has them." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40064063)

Why not make everything open then. Your financial records, taxation, sexual activity. And you mention genetic material so lets make it easy for anyone to access your genetic information. You know, you probably don't want someone pointing out to you that your father is not your father, that your first girlfriend is now called Walter and that you cheated on your taxes. It is a nice thought to have everything open but humans need their secrets too. Yes, there are lots of webcams out there and photographs, really far too many, let's not make it so every time someone goes into a bar that someone can stalk him or her there, publish video of their drinking habits online etc etc. Security and Justice are nice, but are you advocating we should let the government DNA test everyone just in case it helps them track down a crime? I understand the motivation but sometimes the cost of all this in lost freedoms is just a little too high.

Re:"then no one has them." (1)

Andor666 (659649) | about 2 years ago | (#40065251)

I don't know in your cointry, but in mine (Spain):

You should be warned when you are being recorded or your personal information is stored on any place
You should be told of who's the owner and responsible of the 'database' where your information or personal image is being stored
You have the RIGHTS of accessing that database, looking for your information, correcting it and/or deleting it

Not complying this can be severely punished

Notification and Barcodes (1)

drewstah (110889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060433)

It would make sense to alert potential patrons that they will be monitored in this capacity. I can imagine that a big QR-type code on the front of the building would alert not only the humans, but their smartphones or other gadgets. Perhaps you can correlate your social-networking friends with local patrons, and bring up a chat-list in your iGlasses.

We've seen how certain types of makup and hats can foil facial recognition. I wonder if that will make the Guy Fawkes mask more popular, when people wear for an anonymous nite on the town.

Re:Notification and Barcodes (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#40060757)

There is no such thing as an 'anonymous' night on the town. YOU ARE IN PUBLIC, expect no privacy. How are you anonymous if the patrons in the bar can see you and possibly recognize you? Its not the camera you object to, its the wholesale collection of data you deem to be 'private', which really isnt. What is the difference between a camera remembering your face in a bar or the other patrons? Bars are already FESTOONED with cameras, why would they bother telling you they added a software package to their existing surveillance system?

Re:Notification and Barcodes (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#40063177)

On the contrary, while you are int explicitly private in such a setting others have noted that there is a high degree of anonymity as well as a reasonable expectation that legal actions taken will not be permanently recorded (security tapes are rotated, for example), nor will anyone outside of the people in the bar be aware of your presence.

Though not a perfect analogy, it like the free-as-in-beer vs free-as-in-speech comparison. No, you're not alone; No, nobody is going to remember who you are or what you did, or even that you were there unless you make an effort to be memorable.

Re:Notification and Barcodes (1)

drewstah (110889) | about 2 years ago | (#40063665)

Though not a perfect analogy, it like the free-as-in-beer vs free-as-in-speech comparison. No, you're not alone; No, nobody is going to remember who you are or what you did, or even that you were there unless you make an effort to be memorable.

Or, y'know, unless there is a recording made of your presence and activities, which is mined and stored forever.

Should put 'em in the back rooms (4, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#40060499)

Oh, not that kind of facial?

Persistent surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40060741)

Persistent surveillance is precisely what the lost concept of privacy in this country is supposed to prevent. This need widespread public awareness to offset widespread police, federal and judicial approval. The 4th branch is the last branch.

Wider image and lesser quality (1)

mjensen (118105) | about 2 years ago | (#40060867)

Put the camera up in the ceiling in the corner and lower the resolution a bit.

Farther away and slightly out of focus. You can't distinguish anyone, and just know how big the crowd is. That's what you want.

Mixed Blessing (1)

glorybe (946151) | about 2 years ago | (#40060881)

Such cams could be quite valuable to bar patrons. Some don't like things too crowded and some like a joint that is packed to the gills. In addition you might spot people you want to see. It also could act as a proof of where you were at any given time and that can save your life easily. Many men rotting in prison would love proof that they were not the one who did something at a certain time and place.

Re:Mixed Blessing (1)

DontScotty (978874) | about 2 years ago | (#40060893)

"you might spot people you want to see"

NO.

RTFA and you could learn that the camera breaks down the age and female, transmitting that information to the server for the mobile application.

A video feed is NOT generated for human consumption.

Re:Mixed Blessing (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40060971)

the answer is to fix the law so that men aren't sexually discriminated against for the sake some woman's emotional whim..

Re:Mixed Blessing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40061007)

It also could act as a proof of where you were at any given time and that can save your life easily.

Sorry, but I'm not willing to put up with cameras everywhere based on the minuscule chance that it could "save" my life. For one thing, I'm innocent until proven guilty, and that alone makes it even more unlikely that it would save my life, and for another thing, I will not accept such violations of privacy in exchange for security. End result: I won't go anywhere where these cameras are. Until they're everywhere, of course... then I'll have to wear a mask or something.

There is a bar with this near me in Chicago (2)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 2 years ago | (#40060907)

It is called Cans. It is know as a place to go if its getting late and you don't have a piece yet. Take that as you will.

How smart is it? I can see potential awesomeness. (2)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about 2 years ago | (#40061005)

Crowd: >90% full

* Normal Women: 50% * Normal Men: 43% * Down-On-His-Luck Private Detective: 1% * Mysterious Inside Contact: 1% * Hired Goons Preparing For Ambush: 5%

mod D0wn (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40061261)

Facial Recognition Cameras - fatal flaw (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40062087)

They are fooled if you wear flowers in your hair
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