If you feel like you can’t get away from advertising no matter where you go, you’re really not going to like what’s going on in the UK. Major grocery store retailer Tesco, which also has gas stations in the parking lots, is using scanners at gas pumps to target a specific advertisements.
How it works
The company that designed the technology, Quividi, is shying away from the phrase “facial recognition” when talking about its technology. Instead, Quividi refers to it as “facial detection.” It essentially works by detecting the gender and approximate age of the person who stops to get gas, then caters the advertisement to him or her.
Some customers were concerned about the supposed invasion of privacy, but the company says that the scanner doesn’t store or record any information whatsoever. It simply tailors the ads that show up on the screens of gas pumps. Some citizens are worried that it’s a little too Orwellian, but others aren’t concerned.
A few people complain that they can’t even get their gas in peace without being forced to watch a commercial. But the company thinks it might be helpful and boost sales. For instance, showing a commercial for car eyelashes might not be effective for a 40-year-old man, but for an 18-year-old girl, it would be perfect.
Speaking of which …
The UK has a pretty extensive system of closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV). One of the new ways authorities and corporations might install these CCTV cameras are at gas stations. The cameras would be mounted where they can see the license plates and registration of the cars, and if the car is uninsured, the gas pump will not pump gas to the customer.
Although tackling uninsured drivers is an issue that needs to be addressed, most people argue that these cameras are not the answer at all. Many people who work at gas stations also get harassed because of the high price of gas, and they are the prime target for people who can’t pump their gas.
Of course it isn’t the cashiers’ fault, and they would have no way to override the system, but its doubtful that angry uninsured drivers would care.
Also, there would seem to be a problem with cars getting clogged up in the gas pumps. If someone is pretty much out of fuel when he pulls in, and then he can’t get gas, the car might get stuck at the pump.