Things You Won’t Believe Are Spying On You

The next time you go on a trip to the mall, give those mannequins a nice big smile! This 245 billion (yes, with a “B”) dollar industry consists of five organizations throughout Europe and the US that make the ‘Eye See polystyrene frame mannequins.’ These particular mannequins’ eyes are equipped with face recognition cameras.

Despite the fact that surveillance gadgets hidden in a mannequin’s eyes is not seen as a security infringement by the general public, it has led to a few retailers raising the stakes as some of them have also started tracking people by means of collecting data from their cell phones. Though new security laws and rules are limiting the use of retail surveillance, these new creations are reportedly being used not only for law-enforcement but to permit retailers to gather information about you for advertising purposes.

Lady Liberty

Image Source: Google Image – A picture of Lady Liberty at night

If you think mannequins are the weirdest things watching you, then how about this one… the Statue of Liberty — the statue that welcomes the poor, the meek and huddled masses — has also been fitted with ‘the all-eeing eye(s)’ since 2002. It was back then when face recognition software was first introduced to the masses. In 2012, a company called Total Recall Corporation furnished our Lady Liberty with ‘Face VACS Video Scan’ software, which tracks a huge number of New Yorkers’ faces in real time.

Image Source: Google Image - Cigarette vending machines in Tokyo, with a woman promoting the products

Image Source: Wikipedia – Cigarette vending machines in Tokyo, with a woman promoting the products

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a candy machine burglary was solved after the crooks’ faces were identified via the camera inside the vending machine. These cameras are owned and installed by the vending machine companies themselves. The reason, other than law enforcement, is obscure and they might very well be there to identify you for market surveying as well.

Image Source: Wikipedia - The Xbox One's Kinect, a motion controller peripheral for the console. The Kinect uses a multiple camera types and microphones to let a user control the xbox with motion and sound

Image Source: Wikipedia – The Xbox One’s Kinect, a motion controller peripheral for the console. 

The XBOX Kinect, the motion-detecting console accessory, is also outfitted with cameras used to detect your motions and turn them into actions in a video game. However, imagine a scenario where you figured out that not only is your Kinect recording and storing your movements, it could also be recording and archiving the discussions you have while you’re playing — even while it’s switched off. Microsoft, to this day, denies that Kinect records conversations but in the same sentence they brag about its ability to monitor your heart rate and recognize your voice.

Image Source: Google Image - A graphic display of a digital billboard

Image Source: Google Image – A graphic display of a digital billboard

The organization Immersive Labs has developed technology for digital billboards that permits them to monitor your face and, after analyzing you, tailoring a particular commercial to play taking into account your facial features.

Image Source: Google Image - An image of different company logos

Image Source: Google Image – Different company logos

Adidas, Kraft and other organizations all utilize facial recognition technology in various stores to help them make more focused TV advertisements. The creepiest part of this is that the cameras are also connected to Facebook as well, so the organization could speculatively couple their feature reconnaissance with online networking profiles for a significantly juicier information grab.

Image Source: Google Image - An image of Seattle at night. The city is on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, is surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests, and encompasses thousands of acres of parkland (hence its nickname, "Emerald City").

Image Source: Google Image – An image of Seattle at night.

And finally… a new tool that is fit for hi-tech surveillance will be introduced at numerous intersections in downtown Seattle, and rumor has it that there is another innovation being utilized here that includes triangulating our mobile phones, so that they essentially become rogue devices.


SOURCES: The StrangerWashington TimesThe VergeThe Guardian