Freaky or Functional? Using Face Recognition for Ad Targeting

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You're walking past the mall. It's not a good hair day. Suddenly a digital screen in a storefront flashes an ad for a brand-new hair product. Helpful or insulting? Imagine the havoc if the Evil Queen in "Snow White" got an ad for Depends sent to her.

In the near future, window shopping could look like this, with ads designed especially for you beaming back from the store. Sure, you've heard this "Minority Report"-esque prediction before, but biometric face-recognition technology is now being used for advertising.

NEC originally developed the technology for high-level security systems but has since realized its true usefulness: the ultimate in target marketing. The new display premiered at the Odaiba Bokenoh Final, an event hosted by Fuji Television Network Inc. in Tokyo. The technology also works in conjunction with a FeliCa-based mobile phone -- the same ads can also be sent to the phone along with helpful coupons.
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