Store Mannequins to Spy on Shoppers? Hidden Cameras to Record Age, Sex and Race

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(Photo: Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez)Women pass in front of pink mannequins placed at the entrance of a mall October 18, 2012.

Store mannequins will spy on shopping customers this holiday season, as numerous retailers have signed up to use the new mannequins in their stores.

The new "EyeSee Mannequins" have been provided to a number of luxury stores during their sales periods to help store owners arrange displays, store layouts and promotions to increase sales, according to Italian manufacturer Almax SpA.

Uché Okonkwo, executive director of consultant Luxe Corp., has said: "Any software that can help profile people while keeping their identities anonymous is fantastic. (It) could really enhance the shopping experience, the product assortment, and help brands better understand their customers."

According to Bloomberg the mannequins have been fitted with facial recognition technology, allowing them to record the approximate age of shoppers who pass by the shop windows, as well as their gender and race.

Although the chief executive officer of Almax SpA, Max Catanese has refused to name the stores who have signed up to use the technology, he has said that at least five companies have committed to using the new mannequins.

However, some have claimed that the mannequins will be breaking privacy laws as they collect information about people without their consent.

But Catanese has argued that there are no privacy concerns as the mannequins will not store any images of the shoppers. He has said according to privacy rules as long as the stores have a license to use CCTV they will also be about to use the special spy mannequins.