Apple, Facebook, Walmart to help U.S. government to develop facial recognition guidelines

“Facebook Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other companies planning to use facial-recognition scans for security or tailored sales pitches will help write rules for how images and online profiles can be used,” Chris Strohm reports for Bloomberg. “The U.S. Department of Commerce will start meeting with industry and privacy advocates in February to draft a voluntary code of conduct for using facial recognition products, according to a public notice. The draft will ready by June.”

“Facebook, Apple and other Internet companies have been trying to restore consumer confidence that they protect privacy amid an international backlash over revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency has collected data on their users,” Strohm reports. “The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy groups want laws, not voluntary standards, to prevent face scans from being used for spying and tracking. Trade groups like the retail federation, which represents Wal-Mart, oppose regulations or laws they say might cripple an emerging market estimated to reach $6.5 billion by 2018 by MarketsandMarkets, a Dallas research company.”

“An advertising and technology agency in Nashville, Tennessee, called Redpepper is testing an Internet application in which users agree to give access to their Facebook profiles and have their faces scanned by cameras at local businesses when they walk in or by. The application then delivers customized advertising deals to their smartphones,” Strohm reports. “Meanwhile, facial scans are becoming more common to establish identity for secure access to buildings or devices. Apple Inc. received a patent Dec. 3 for a system to use a facial scan to unlock an iPhone or computer.”

Strohm reports, “The U.S. Commerce Department, which will start the discussions in February, says the code of conduct will apply only to commercial use, not to how law enforcement or spy agencies may use it.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


  1. this is all just getting increasingly creepy, and i fear does not bode well for either our individual privacy or rights.

    computers and the digital realm are swiftly making the transition from being our servants to becoming our masters, or at least serving those who would become our masters.

    and all in the pursuit of profit.

    this ain’t gonna end well, for any of us.

    1. I remember years ago when Michael Jackson created an “incident” near here when he went shopping at a Walmart with his kids, all wearing ski masks. Everyone thought it was crazy. Now I can see a market for chic “ski masks” as privacy fashion statements.

  2. Walmart is evil.

    They crush local competition, and then pay absolutely minimum wages so workers could not sustain their families but already have no other places to work.

    By paying so tiny wages, Walmart steals taxpayers’ money, which are spent on social support of their workers.

    And, while at that, Walmart collects giant multi-billion profits.

    1. Walmart’s founders heirs own more wealth than 40% of total USA’s population.

      This is biggest theft in history of mankind, with 1% buying the government and owning almost all of wealth that exists.

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