Japan taxi ads use facial recognition to guess your gender

Next time you catch a cab in Tokyo, you might be on camera. That's because facial recognition technology is at work.

    2019/04/24

NSFW    TOKYO — Taxis in Japan are using facial recognition to record footage of passengers' faces for personalized advertising, reports technology news website Futurism.

Google Privacy Engineer Rosa Golijan posted a photo of the tech on Twitter. The April 21 image shows a panel screen with text reading, "The image data is used to estimate gender in order to deliver the most optimized content."

It further notes that "data is discarded immediately after the estimation processing. Neither the tablet nor the server records the data."

Going deeper, Futurism reports that, another user called "@BenParker140" posted an image from Tokyo. His photo provides some context, saying the technology is called "Premium Taxi Vision."

Futurism reports that a QR code in this photo connects to a website about the technology. Apparently it's from Japanese e-commerce giant and mobile provider DeNA.

There, the company explains that the data gathered "would not allow an individual to be identified." It also says it shares the info with Genie Inc, an ad technology company, in order to get "optimal" ad content for riders.

According to the website, the data snapped from your cab's backseat tablet cam includes video of your face. This is then computed to guess your age and sex, before hitting you with some tailored ads.

There is an opt-out though and this can be disabled. As the DeNA website explains, you first tap on the menu button on the right of the screen, next tap about use of our camera footage and then disable content optimization.
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