Mark Cuban Would Like to Grab Facebook Photos for Facial Recognition

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Billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has announced he has just invested in a company "that takes video of an area and can tell you exactly how many people are in the capture area at any given time."

"Its a great for traffic patterns, security, and much more. We are posting cameras in certain environments where anonymity is required, and we don’t and won’t capture faces or anything that could identify an individual. We will simply provide incredibly accurate traffic information and patterns," he says.

After this intro, Cuban flips 100% in announcement and starts talking about "opt out mechanisms." You ask why is he talking about "opt out mechanisms" when he starts out talking about the anonymity his cameras assure? Good question.

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It turns out that Cuban’s plans shift 180 degrees from anonymity and what he is really doing is eyeing everyone’s Facebook pic. Here’s more of what he has just announced:

The next extension is to install it in places where we can add facial recognition software. So rather than someone checking in to a specific application, we would already know you are there.

Of course there would have to be “opt out” mechanisms. Of course there would be a battle over whether or not a store or venue should be “opt in” vs automated recognition, but that’s not a software issue. The reality is that its solves “the path of least resistance” issue with check-ins for location-based software. Individuals never do any of the work. The store/host recognizes you are there and rewards you for allowing your identity and information to be captured and linked. If Amazon can “welcome us back” and offer us personalized specials, why shouldnt [sic] brick and mortar establishments?

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July 20, 2010

2010 Economic Policy Journal