Do you still have privacy?

In the real physical world (not the online sphere if you like), wherever you go, there are surveillance cameras. Would you agree with that? This means your privacy is not as private as you might think.
The surveillance cameras are everywhere. Go read the Wikipedia Article on Mass Surveillance if you want to know more on the subject.  In this article you will find that the EU is funding initiatives to track everyone in public spaces and to make those data available to external parties eventually. If you do not agree with that, it’s probably too late. If you don’t consider this relevant to you then it is probably because you do not live in an urban area.

As a citizen (and a consumer), the questions I often ask myself about those spy cameras are the following:
– Are these camera improving our lives?
– Are they there to improve my experience of a place, a shop as a customer?
– Are they used to try to genuinely know me better for good reasons?
– Are they used to try to engage with me?

Unfortunately the answers to the above questions are often unsatisfying. Moreover in the case of surveillance cameras, there is no way to avoid them however there are signs warning you that you can be watched (see picture). Where do I say “I agree” or “I don’t agree”? There is no opt-out possible.

GetSmily in the picture

The reason why I am writing these lines is to draw your attention on another type of cameras that is occupying the “public space”: the millions of low-cost webcams that are connected to computers. You are in full control of those cameras and you can do many things with them such as communicating through video-conferencing, recording short movies and messages or even providing spontaneous and complete feedback about the emotions you get while visiting a website that is using our GetSmily technology.

GetSmily is recording your emotions (not your personal details) through your webcam stream when it is inserted on a web page and after you have specifically agreed to be participate to the test. You have to explicitly give your approval to be filmed. We do not store images from you or from your surroundings for that matter. We only collect data points on your face and we analyse them in full anonymity.

GetSmily Facial Mesh

A facial mesh as seen by GetSmily


Your privacy is essential

If we do not respect it, we would be out of business in a snap of a finger. Of course, there are some privacy concerns raised by such a technology as it is presented in the Best Practices for Common Uses of Facial Recognition Technologies report by the Federal Trade Commission in October 2012 (go to page 7 of the report) such as:  hacking, commercial abuse, no more anonymity in public environments for instance. Our approach is therefore totally different from the surveillance cameras’ approach and in total compliance with the privacy regulations.

In the context of GetSmily, you are in total control. We simply provide a tool that allows website owners to improve your surfing experiences while allowing them to better know what you enjoy and what you don’t. Ultimately we are trying to help them to build a cleaner and better web experience for all human.

We intend to leverage human emotions to build of a better worldwide web.

PS: One last thing… if you want to know where all the surveillance camera in the world, “there an app for that!”. Check out Surv! The thing is that it’s not sure whether they will succeed to do what they want.

David is an entrepreneur and a digital marketing professional with 17+ years’ experience. He owns an Executive MBA from the Louvain School of Management. He also gives lectures in Belgian business schools.

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