It has been announced that Tesco will be installing face-scanning technology at tills in their petrol stations. The idea is to recognise the customer’s gender and a rough approximation of their age. I can see this going badly wrong…
My first thought is what a great way to anger your customers, advertising Tena Lady to women in their forties, and tampons to men with long hair!
If this technological leap is anything like their self-scan tills, we can expect a whole host of teething problems. More importantly, however, is the issue surrounding how our images are to be used. A Tesco spokeswoman said, “No data or images are collected or stored and the system does not use eyeball scanners or facial-recognition technology”, but does this really fill you with confidence? Surely as any system, it will be vulnerable to hacking and security issues. Personally I, and I’m positive many will feel the same, don’t feel comfortable with my face being scanned every time I go in to fill up my car.
It’s all very big brother of Tesco to initiate advertising in this way. I even find banner ads showing those shoes I’ve just looked at a little creepy.
As one commenter on a BBC News article put it, “This is where technology is blurring the line between the reasonable and intrusive.” and I think ravenmorpheus2k got it spot on.
And that’s the problem with this. It is intrusive. And entirely unnecessary. Will it make me think twice about filling up at Tesco? Yes. And we’re not exactly spoilt for choice.