Tracking Devices

Wear a mask, pay cash, and break out your old brick cell phone. Consumer Reports tells all: High-resolution video cameras monitor all areas in and outside the  store. With facial-recognition software, your…

Would you agree to this in return for a half-price smoothie? Created by advertising agency Redpepper, a program called “Facedeals” is already being tested in Tennessee, with plans to expand nationally in the near future. The way it works is, internet-connected cameras mounted in front of businesses capture the faces of comers and goers. Individuals who have agreed to participate in Facedeals are identified and tracked using facial recognition software when a camera spots them, and as a reward periodically receive personalized deals and coupons via their smartphones:

Created by Crowdflow, a visualization of the movement of 880 iPhones across Europe during the month of April, 2011, made from the phones’ location data. In the dystopian future, a thousand video feeds like this one will flicker across a wall of screens in Big Brother’s central surveillance facility:

TowlieDamn you, Big Travel! Discovery News reports:

Plush terrycloth bathrobes, 800-thread-count sheets and fluffy, freshly laundered towels can tempt even the most law-abiding hotel guest to take up a life of suitcase-stuffing crime.

Irresistible as they may be, petty theft of these luxurious (and free!) linens are gouging the hotel industry to the rude wake-up call of approximately $100 million a year.

Sticky-fingers everywhere, consider this a warning! Some hotels are reinforcing their defences against pilfering patrons like yourself and they’re using radio frequency identification (RFID) to catch you in the act.

Three hotels in Honolulu, Miami and New York City have begun using towels, sheets and bathrobes equipped with washable RFID tags to keep guests from snagging the coveted items. Just to keep you guessing, the hotels have chosen to remain anonymous.