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Facial Detection Startup Changes Privacy Policy After Friday Launch

Postby sunnyd » Sun May 20, 2012 7:30 pm

Story : http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/05/facial-detection-startup-changes-privacy

As the Oakland A’s were set to take on the Giants in the adjacent baseball stadium, few in the Polo Grounds bar seemed aware that another event was taking place - the launch party of the controversial social geo-location app, SceneTap.

The Chicago-based startup debuted in the city by the Bay Friday evening after it caused a bit of a stir locally during the week. This is despite the fact that SceneTap has operated previously in several other cities around the country largely without a hitch. Several San Francisco bars that originally agreed to partner with SceneTap said that they have pulled out, largely due to negative media attention and potential privacy concerns.

The app, using facial detection and video cameras, plots bar activity on a Google Map, with pushpins revealing data like: “Crowd: >70% full | Women: 52% | Men: 48%.”

SceneTap representatives have stressed to multiple media outlets (including Ars) that the company is not storing images. The only stored data are historical trends of male and female ratios and estimates of customer ages. The company says that once it has accumulated such data over time, it will make it available to bars as an analytical tool to evaluate bar traffic.



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