Store mannequins are meant to catch your eye. Now you may catch theirs.

Benetton brand will display mannequins equipped with hidden cameras in some of its stores windows to monitor and study its customers. These bionic mannequins spy called “the EyeSee” cost 4000 euros each ($5,072) and are sold by an Italian company, mannequin maker Almax SpA.

You wouldn’t expect a mannequin to be observing you

The EyeSee looks like a regular mannequin form on the outside, with its glossy plastic frame, poker face and static pose. Inside, a camera embedded in one eye feeds data into a facial recognition software, similar to those used in airports to determine the gender, age or ethnicity of clients who would stop in front of a shop window. The objective is to adapt the windows and offers to boost sales. To update the EyeSee technology, Almax is testing a software that recognizes words to allow retailers to spy on what shoppers say about the garments displayed in the windows. The Italian company also plans to add screens next to the mannequins to suggest relevant products to shoppers according to their profile.

This technology raises legal and ethical issues

U.S.A and European Union regulations authorize the use of cameras for security purposes, but watching and profiling people for commercial benefit raises legal and ethical issues. the whole process could be viewed as gathering personal data without consent, though retailers need to put up signs in their stores warning customers they may be filmed. CEO Almax SpA said “Since the EyeSee doesn’t store any images, retailers can use it as long as they have a closed-circuit television license. So far Almax hasn’t faced obstacles to selling the spy mannequin”. 

A spokesman for Benetton declined give more information on where these models will be tested. 

 

Via : Le Monde.fr

 

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