10 Places You're Probably Being Watched Every Day


All Over Japan

CCTV cameras in Japan can determine your age and sex and change the tech billboard to match what they perceive as your interests. Marc Fernandez Diaz/Flickr/Getty Images
CCTV cameras in Japan can determine your age and sex and change the tech billboard to match what they perceive as your interests. Marc Fernandez Diaz/Flickr/Getty Images

It's no secret that technology is, well, kind of a big deal in Japan. And facial recognition software is no exception.

Whether you're a tourist or a citizen, cameras are tracking your comings and goings. Literally. Truck stops use facial recognition software to judge whether drivers are too sleepy to hit the road. And if you get close enough to a tech-equipped Japanese billboard, it can determine your sex, tell your age within a decade's range — and then change its advertising accordingly.

As a bonus, some Japanese vending machines have become so "smart," they offer sodas based on age, gender and even the weather. Restaurants and hotels use facial recognition to identify VIP guests, while service companies track whether their employees are smiling while on the job [source: Ganeva].

Author's Note: 10 Places You're Probably Being Watched Every Day

There's no doubt (in my mind, at least) that traffic cameras are efficient. I was driving at night on a highway near Oklahoma City a few years ago and before I knew it, was on a toll road. Seriously, it came out of nowhere. If there was a sign, I missed it. Although I felt a bit guilty about not dropping 73 cents into the collection bin -- wherever it was -- I encountered an entirely different emotion when I got the mail a few weeks later. There was a $30-something citation.

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