Retailers Are Spotting Celebrities With Facial Recognition Software

When Jason Biggs wrote that being a celebrity meant having constant anxiety about being recognized, he had no idea — high-end retail stores are testing technology that scans customers against a database of celebrity photos and alerts store clerks when there's a match.

According to NPR, the software is being tested in "a dozen undisclosed top stores and hotels in the U.S., the U.K., and the Far East," and works even if the person is wearing sunglasses or a hat, has gained weight, has aged, has changed hair colors, or has grown facial hair.

Once the system has made a match, salesclerks are alerted via computer, iPad or iPhone and given a list of the customer's preferences.

And stores aren't just focusing on celebrities — many US retailers track shoppers via their smartphones by following the WiFi signals. Using the technology, stores can gather data about their customers, "using video surveillance and signals from their cellphones and apps to learn information as varied as their sex, how many minutes they spend in the candy aisle and how long they look at merchandise before buying it."

[NPR, image via Shutterstock]