Crashed computer at Oslo pizzeria reveals covert facial recognition scheme


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This is extremely common. If you’ve been in a shopping mall or a big store in the past two years, your face has been scanned and analyzed to see how interested you are as you shop.

It’s getting less expensive and more effective.


‘It’s pronounced “pit-za-FAH-chay”!’

God I miss The Critic


That show was ahead of it’s time with it’s peculiar brand of comedy. Would love to see it come back in some capacity.


This is Kairos software, made in America presumably for Americans.

Only Americans smile, and only some Americans, and only some of the time. If you’re from the northern Midwest like I am and raised to be superficially pleasant, and you’ve had a nice easy day, then you will probably smile. Otherwise, if you’re in NYC and you’ve had a crazy long day and you’re ordering pizza because you’re too bushed to cook but you have to eat because you worked through lunch, you’re not gonna fucking smile.

I haven’t met all that many Scandinavians, but the ones I’ve met seem shier, for the lack of a better word, than Americans. Not aloof, but certainly not effusively superficially pleasant the way some Americans can be.

To me, this just smells like software people thinking they can plug some numbers into a magic algorithm and get an answer. Nothing works that way, especially not algorithms. It’s useful from a statistics gathering standpoint, just don’t expect any hard-and-fast answers. Also:

This so much!


I believe all the episodes are on YouTube somewhere, unless they’ve gotten scrubbed again.

I’m legitimately surprised Tumblr hasn’t originated more Critic memes. Their users are too young, I guess.


I have some Swedish cousins, and a Swedish friend, my impression is that they’re a bit more reserved in random public settings but they’re quite polite and affable. I don’t think that the Scandinavian stereotype of being overly quiet and low key is all that accurate, there is a cultural aspect to it for sure but the swedes i’ve met were very colorful :slight_smile:

Americans tend to be more loud, outspoken and fake politeness in public settings. My swedish friend had the most trouble with coming to terms with how strangers interacted with her when she visited me a few years back.


Yep. Not rude or aloof at all, just more reserved when compared to Americans.

I think the way some, if not all, Americans interact with each other is flawed. Overly effusive smiley-face superficial politeness is so fake that it defeats its own purpose. I don’t feel at ease when I encounter this, I just wonder what they’re really thinking.

Likewise, whenever I go to CVS, any CVS, whatever kid is on duty greets me with a brusque “can I help you find anything” before the doors even shut. I immediately think, “I just want to get what I came for and then fuck off, thanks to you!”


Still waiting for the software to be smart enough to detect my upraised middle finger and realize it means “stop scanning me and showing me ads.”



Not only does it appear to not be actual “facial recognition”, it does not appear to be code, either. It looks like the output, as viewed in a terminal window.


They used to just put some chalk or dirt on your clothes. It was easy for people in the know to see who the mark was. Now the mark is much harder to see.


It’s facial recognition in the sense that the computer automatically recognized faces and expressions of affect along with demographic information such as gender and approximate age. If you go to their website they do address a lot of really interesting use cases pertaining to market analysis and advertising. It does state that identity is one aspect of their technology.


Creepy AF and I’d assume illegal in many US jurisdictions? Although anywhere you have a security camera and you post a warning could you covertly do this too?


From the background this looks like it was at Oslo sentralstasjon, the downtown train station; I can’t imagine any info such software could produce that would be helpful for the productivity of a train station pizza counter.

If it did anything like customize actual offerings for customers, this would violate Norwegian law. Might do that anyway, Norway has very progressive consumer protection law.

BTW, speaking as someone who has lived in Oslo, I find some of the characterizations of Norwegians upthread hilarious.


At what sort of establishment would this sort of thing make sense?


There’s a situation where we really want the adversary to have access to improved technology…


For general in-store customer tracking or the specific facial recognition/engagement tracking? For the general one most stores would be fairly interested in this, more so bigger stores that have partnerships with multiple brands. Brand or ad engagement would still be something many businesses would be into but doing so in a non-intrusive way would be a bit harder to pull off… though websites do this by tracking your mouse pointer and how you scroll past content, where you stop scrolling, etc.


I would say that’s a contradiction in terms.

There is the semantic problem that identification differs from re-cognition - especially when there is arguably no cognition happening in the first place. It is “simple” pattern-matching. Then there is also the deeper (and extremely unpopular) philosophical problem of to what extent individual identity even exists, as most like to conceive of it.

Anyway, the point of my prior post was in response to Lee Gamble’s tweet that: “A crashed advertisement reveals the code of the facial recognition system used by a pizza shop in Oslo.” What the photo shows appears to be output rather than code.


Somebody forgot the rules: If you are doing something sketchy, try not to stdout.

Definitely a mistake; but a fairly stderr.