Mannequins May Give Info About Your Holiday Shopping Habits

Well this is creepy. You already know you???re under surveillance when you enter your local department store but did you ever think the store would enlist mannequins to keep an eye on you? A few locations are testing out specially fitted mannequins that aren???t made for spotting shoplifters but use facial-recognition software to give owners data about their shoppers??? age, gender, and race. 

???Any software that can help profile people while keeping their identities anonymous is fantastic,??? said Uch?? Okonkwo, executive director of consultant Luxe Corp in what???s probably the opposite of what most of you are thinking about this right now. It ???could really enhance the shopping experience, the product assortment, and help brands better understand their customers.???

Valley of the uncanny dolls.

The Bank of England Gets It ??? using search data as economic indicators

From this Bank of England paper on using search data:

???In contrast to most traditional survey methods, they are collected as a by-product of normal activity, rather than requiring individuals or firms to respond to survey questions after the event. This can avoid problems associated with non-response or inaccurate responses. And it also means

that information is continually collected on a wider range of issues, rather than just on a few pre-determined questions. As a result, search data can help analyse issues that arise unexpectedly.???

This way they can tell when the economy is pregnant…

How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did

What Target discovered fairly quickly is that it creeped people out that the company knew about their pregnancies in advance.

“If we send someone a catalog and say, ‘Congratulations on your first child!’ and they’ve never told us they’re pregnant, that’s going to make some people uncomfortable,” Pole told me. “We are very conservative about compliance with all privacy laws. But even if you’re following the law, you can do things where people get queasy.

Bold is mine. That’s a quote for our times.


The Freelance Panoptiswarm

Here???s a glimpse of the future: Ubiquitous cheap sensors. Perpetual freelance surveillance. Relentless sunlight, directed by shoals of shadowy interest groups.

It has been a bounteous season for panoptiswarm-related news (previously: 1, 2, 3). Sea Shepherd has drones now. They are using them to track the Japanese whaling fleet. Occupy has a drone. It is called the occucopter. There