Tag Archives: consumer privacy

Next Generation Facial Recognition Software Knows How You Feel

By: Anthony Germinario

Affectiva, a pioneer in emotional recognition software, seems
to be everywhere lately ‘ from discussions in my office about new MR
techniques, to a recent article in Wired.
I first heard of their Affdex technology at an ASC conference in London, and was thoroughly
impressed by the ability to capture emotions while respondents view videos
or ads. Facial recognition has been around for a while now (remember when
Facebook started guessing who was in your photos?) but decoding emotions on
those faces is a whole new frontier.

Affdex was developed with altruistic intentions at
the MIT Media Lab; to help autistic people read emotions during daily
interactions. A machine that reads emotions, however, inevitably
caught the attention of many more interested parties. While I can get
excited about using their technology to measure respondent reactions in Market
Research studies, I am even more interested to see where else this will be applied
in my everyday life as a consumer. Which of my devices will read
my emotions, and what will they give me in return?
Affectiva recently offered a 45-day free trial to developers who want to experiment with their API ‘ which got me thinking… what
are some apps or devices I would want to read my face/emotions? I’m not a
developer (just a dreamer) so here is my short list:
Apple TV
/ Roku
‘ Could the device please pause my show when I inevitably doze off while catching up with my shows on Sunday evening?

sites (Amazon, Gilt, etc.)
‘ While I shop, can you tell which items I react
positively to, and tailor my experience like a virtual personal shopper?

‘ maybe Tinder can tell exactly how you feel about a potential match,
so you don’t have to keep swiping left/right? Perhaps you would find different
matches based on your initial emotional response, which you may not even be aware of.
All dreaming aside, one real concern about any new kind of
data capture, especially involving video, is privacy. Consumers are willing to
trade a good amount of personal privacy for novelty and convenience, but it
certainly is something that must be addressed. Rana el Kaliouby (Chief Science Officer at Affectiva)
assures us that Affdex, while it has amassed a database of millions of faces,
retains no personally identifiable information. So even if we know my face is
in there, she asserts that nobody would be able to pull it out of the system.

I, for one, will take her word for it ‘ and am excited to
see this approach applied in consumer technology. What about the rest of you ‘ any other
ideas for places you do (or maybe don’t!) want to have your face/emotions read?

About the Author: Anthony Germinario is Director
of Technical Product Management at BuzzBack,
where he is focused on developing and integrating unique respondent and
reporting experiences for online research. He has earned his PMP certification
and holds a B.S.B.A from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. You
can keep up with him on Twitter @AGermBB and
on LinkedIn,
as well as on BuzzBack’s blog.

Related articles

Data Custodianship and the New Information Economy

By Marc Dresner, IIR

I’ve been thinking’and writing’a lot about privacy lately,
and it’s occurred to me that the term may actually be a misnomer when we’re
talking about the collection and use of data about individuals.
John Havens, author of
Hacking H(app)iness: Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it CanChange the World,’ summed it up quite well in a presentation at TMRE’s sister
event, The Future of Consumer Intelligence, back in May.

‘This is not about privacy; it’s about
 ‘ John Havens

‘This is not about privacy, which is a preference; it’s
about control,’ said Havens.

Havens’ voice is one in a growing chorus that contends the
Internet economy in its current incarnation’specifically that of data in exchange for services’is fundamentally broken.

Data Slaves Rise Up

Peter Vander Auwera

In July, at the Shopper Insights in Action conference, Peter Vander Auwera, Co-Founder of SWIFT’s Innotribe, who’s written and spoken
extensively on the subject, warned of an impending ‘revolution of the data slaves.’

Vander Auwera’s talk drew on a variety of thought leaders,
all of whom have called for and/or predicted the emanation of a more
egalitarian model. 
For instance:

  • -         
    Jaron Lanier, author of ‘Who Owns the Future?‘ envisions
    a new information economy where people are paid for each instance in which
    information about them is used for commercial purposes.

  • -         
    Internationally renowned security technologist Bruce Shneier even compares the Internet economy to a Feudal system, but Shneier also
    believes a technological way out is inevitable

New Model: The Respect Network

some of this may seem a little fantastical, I wouldn’t dismiss it because to
varying degrees it’s already happening.

Havens in his
presentation advised keeping
an eye on the personal cloud/personal vault industry. (Forrester covers it.)
He also referenced The Respect Network‘billed as ‘the world’s first global,
private cloud network and peer-to-peer data sharing service”as the poster child
for the emerging model:

  • People get paid directly for access to their
  • Provides a centralized, secure private repository
    for whatever data the person wants stored’social media data, photos, credit
    card data, shoe size, etc.
  • Direct peer-to-peer transmission (no
  • Pick and choose which data you want to sell
  • Decide who you want (or don’t want) to sell it
  • Visualization software lets the user look at and
    think about their own data in novel ways

Note: Great WSJ blog on this topic with details about The Respect
Network model. See http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/06/25/network-lets-you-sell-your-data-for-cloud-storage/
the form, you can expect to see more options for consumers to exercise
greater control over the collection and use of their data.
But for now, I think the distinction between privacy and
control is an important one, because the privacy movement shouldn’t necessarily
be construed as blanket opposition to the sharing of consumer data or rejection of the use of that data by

Data ethics will be the new
‘ Jer Thorp

Another speaker from the FoCI conference in May, JerThorp, made a great analogy when he predicted that data ethics will be the new

Thorp is Co-Founder of The Office for Creative Research and former
Data Artist in Residence at The New York Times Co.

He advised companies to start thinking not in terms
of data ownership, but data custodianship
and to position themselves as ‘data ethical,’ which entails:

1.       Informed consent

2.       Transparency around how
the data will be used

3.       The option for people to
have their records terminated (aka ‘the ability to be forgotten’)

If calls for
privacy protection’at least with regard to commercial activities’are really just
an expression of people’s desire to be informed and consulted, then the
solution would seem to be to involve people in the process.

Thorp said he’s had discussions
about consumer data ethics with a lot of companies, and it’s the older,
established corporations that seem most receptive to the concept because ‘they
understand that customer distrust is an untenable proposition.’  


Executives at start-ups, in
contrast, ‘aren’t listening because they have an exit strategy for two years out,’
said Thorp.


In any event, people
may not have to wait for legislators to catch up. The market may sort it out.

Companies that don’t institute ‘data ethical’
policies and practices may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage as
consumers take their business to a rival that has recognized the opportunity.

And like any
market with a large unmet need, expect a variety of new entrants to come to the
rescue with commercially available solutions designed to help people manage and
control their own data.

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.

Top 8 Takeaways on Privacy

One of the overlying themes of this year’s Future of
Consumer Intelligence conference is consumer privacy and the concept of
“Empowerment vs. Endangerment” as it relates to the handling and
usage of data. As researchers, we collect , analyze and utilize consumers’
information to improve products, services and the customer experience.
But really, the true question posed in all of this is,
“Where do we draw the line in privacy practices?”  Regardless of
whatever privacy policies consumers have agreed to (without actually reading
the pages and pages of fine print) they still expect companies to act
responsibility with their digital imprint. 
So here are the top 8 takeaways from today’s discussions
about consumer privacy:

1. Businesses typically dictate terms of privacy for consumers.
However, consumers should have the right to 
dictate their own terms and
conditions of privacy to businesses because it is their identify
2. We need need to move past the legality of consumer privacy
and responsibly consider the morality of consumer privacy within our agreements
3. Clarity is essential and needs to be installed within data
collection and data mining privacy guidelines and not be hidden in fine print
4. Consumer trust will increase as better practice guidelines
are built into frameworks and agreements
5. Location privacy is a fundamental part of who we are as our
location reveals our tastes, preferences and identities
6. Privacy equals control and consumers should control their
data and have freedom of choice as to how, where and when it is used
7. Privacy by design should be built into our studies and
framework. Yes it costs $$. But preventing a breach will save you even more $$

8. Embed privacy by design into initial frameworks because they
are harder to change down the line
MrChrisRuby is
an award-winning expert Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Executive
who has consulted with several Fortune 500 companies. He is passionate about
augmenting product development, the customer experience & corporate
revenue. Follow MrChrisRuby on Twitter @MrChrisRuby,
email him at mrchrisruby@gmail.com or
read The Market
Research Insider

Is there a need for more privacy online?

The USA Today has a news story discussing the current push by consumer and privacy advocacy groups asking Congress to begin to protect consumers rights online. Currently, online sources have free reign to collect data on habits to predict one’s internet search. The Interactive Advertising Bureau is strongly opposed to regulating privacy on the internet, and this is the first time advocate groups have spoken out against the advertising policies online.

While tracking internet habits is critical for a business, do sites like Google need to be freely monitoring all internet surfing habits? Should Congress listen to consumer groups and take steps to protect internet surfers privacy?

Mining Twitter

Today at the New York Times, they’ve asked their readers whether it is ok for companies to mine posts of consumers for their opinions.

A few of the opinions:

Consumer privacy is extremely important. Twitter, recognizing this, gives individuals the ability to protect their messages, so they are only available to people they specify.

Consumers have fine-grained control to opt-in and opt-out of receiving messages from anyone else. The uses of information on the so-called public timeline are growing every day, so consumers should exercise the same due care with Twitter as they do with their work email.

That being said, companies should take time to consider how the use of Twitter is being used by consumers as a public replacement for the suggestion box. That should be their first priority when it comes to managing data on consumer attitudes. ‘ Brian, Denver, COAt first it seemed that twitter was a cheap imitation of Facebook, but it really is more complex than that. Journalists can utilize this tool to keep people informed at all times of the day. And if mashines can start auto sending “tweets” it could made getting information across even easier. I’m excited to see how far this can actually go. ‘ laura, Madison, WIThough twitter only represents a niche audience, it does provide a real-time example of what consumers are thinking. Specifically, it can help detect when a problem needs to be confronted ASAP.’ ALH, Chicago, ILWhat do you think? Head over to the New York Times to give them your opinion.