Do you love a discount? You're not alone. Most people do. And that's just what Facebook is banking on with their new "Facedeals" project, which sends coupons and discount offers directly to your phone. The only catch: when you use your coupon they snap your picture.
The program essentially functions as follows: a camera is installed in a business. The camera scans your face as you enter, checks you in on Facebook and sends your phone a text message offering you a targeted discount. A "targeted" discount or deal is a coupon for an item or service that's viewed as within your range of interests, based on your Facebook "like" history. Merchants use this data to selectively advertise to you, making it more likely you'll be interested and less likely that they will waste time and resources sending you a coupon for a product you'd never use.
Of course, in order for this program to take effect you must choose to sign up for it, and let Facebook scan and store facial recognition data about you based on your tagged Facebook photos. As more pictures are approved, the app gets more precise in its ability to identify you based on what you look like. Once you sign up for this program you will be automatically identified and tagged at any store or shop you frequent that has a Facebook Camera installed.
No doubt this is another impressive new development in our ever more rapidly advancing technological society. What's the harm in offering you targeted deals seamlessly and easily right? Well, perhaps none, but certainly there is a potential for misuse and dangerous privacy implications. Mum's been the word on how this data will be stored, what will be permissible uses for the data, and what if any third parties could request access to such data? Could the government access it under the right circumstances? What about retailers, marketers, or various merchants? You can see that without defined rules, the line could easily be blurred to a dangerous point.
Now everywhere you go, you could potentially be checked in without your knowledge. Every store you visit, every time you leave your house. Once you've signed up for this technology there isn't a way yet to select where you do and don't want to be checked in, or under what circumstances you feel comfortable broadcasting your whereabouts and purchasing habits to the general public. Once you sign up, it's entirely plausible that your friends, family, and yes those ultra-aggressive creepy Facebook stalkers can track your daily movement and purchasing habits with a click of a mouse. It's a spooky thought.
No doubt many will disregard the near certainty of significantly diminished privacy in favor of 50% off a sweet new smart phone cover. But when that creepy ex that you've been avoiding since high school just "happens" to bump into you at the mall, don't say we didn't warn you.
"Facebook Facedeals Raise Serious New Privacy Concerns" was written by Matt Davis. Matt is a Victim Advisor at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to ITRC_Blog.