Black Friday shoppers beware: 'Big Brother' mannequins are watching | Science updates | -- Your State. Your News.

Jul 04th
  • Login
  • Create an account
  • Search
  • Local Business Deals

Black Friday shoppers beware: 'Big Brother' mannequins are watching

Mannequins_112112_optBY PAM LOBLEY

Hitting the stores for some Black Friday bargains? Beware. The store mannequins may be watching you.

They’re not watching you to guard against shoplifting — that’s so last year. No, they are cataloguing your race, gender and age so that they can better “understand shoppers.”

In other words, increase sales.

New York Daily News reports that United Colors of Benetton is using “EyeSee,” mannequins with facial recognition software to glean information. The company then uses that information to cater to its customers. For instance, one store realized that many of its customers coming through a certain door were Asian, so they put Chinese speaking employees at that entrance.

The dummies are made by Almax SpA, an Italian company. So far they are used by mostly luxury brands, which is understandable because they cost $5,000 each. The mannequins are being used in four countries, including the U.S., mostly in the fashion industry.

The software does not capture or record any images, just statistics about age, race and gender. Still, it is just another step up the ladder of invasive tactics by retailers to increase personalization. In fact, Almax may be considering adding hearing to the seeing eye mannequins. This would enable them to pick up words customers use in conversation while shopping.

Privacy and anonymity are a dwindling privilege in our society. Shopping on the internet yields a treasure trove of personal information to retailers. Software tracks your credit card purchases. The TSA scans our “naked” bodies. Cameras at intersections record your traffic violations.

How do you feel? Do you mind if the mannequins are watching you?

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Check out her blog: Better Living Through Chaos! Follow her on twitter @plobley.


Apes can have a mid-life crisis, too

TSA procedures persuade travelers to forego flying

California professor says people are getting dumber....huh?

What's inside your belly button? The answer might gross you out

Twinkies brand goes bankrupt: Hostess overrun by Ho Hos and Ding Dongs

Fiscal cliff is putting Americans on edge

Generator that runs on urine gives new meaning to 'girl power' in Africa

Looking old could mean greater heart attack risk: Beware the yellowish eyelid bumps!


Add your comment

Your name:

Follow/join us

Twitter: njnewsroom Linked In Group: 2483509