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NASCAR’s Digital Video Boards Are Watching You Back

What if your face was being studied and you didn’t even know it?

We’re really only beginning to see what implications may come from the burgeoning technology advancements in facial recognition. When Facebook, or your iPhone camera, IDs you in a group photo, at least you know your features being plucked from a crowd on a platform you’ve signed up for. But what if your face was being studied and you didn’t even know it?

That’s precisely what’s happening to NASCAR fans when they attend their favorite sporting events, says Jalopnik. It turns out almost every race track in the NASCAR universe – all but the ones at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in fact – feature video boards capable of watching you back.

Media boards created by Ingenuity Sun Media use software to scan audience demographics, specially logging characteristics like age and gender. While that data is logged, ISM president Jeff Hutchins told ESPN that no photographs of NASCAR fans are taken or stored.

But that doesn’t stop this from having a creepy feel to it, especially considering the boards are said to be capable of also possibly capturing a person’s mood.

Not a NASCAR fan? Cool, but don’t think you’re off the hook. The New York Times has also reported this week that Madison Square Garden has also been surreptitiously using facial recognition tech on event attendees. In their case, they say it’s to bolster security but skeptics stress other industries – such as marketing – could really benefit the most.

Charles Carroll, a senior VP at IDEMIA, the company that manages the airport TSA PreCheck program told the Times, “the days of having 40,000 to 60,000 people in a stadium and not knowing who they are … are going to disappear.”

I guess on the one hand, it’s comforting to know that feeling of being watched is actually coming from somewhere.

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