Stealing From a Cashierless Store (Without You, or the Cameras, Knowing It)

Excerpt from this article:

Standard Market is the latest entry in the emerging fray of retail automation, where companies are throwing cameras, sensors and machine learning into grocery stores to replace the checkout line. In January, Amazon opened its first cashierless Go market in Seattle to the public; it has since opened more of the stores. In China, experiments in cashierless stores abound, using radio frequency identification tags and a self-checkout process that involves scanning a Quick Response code or your face.

Standard Cognition’s approach is different. It relies exclusively on the ceiling cameras and artificial intelligence software to figure out what you are buying. The cameras document shoppers’ movements, speed, stride length and gaze. The store knows when I glance at a poster and for how long. It knows if I slowed down, grabbed a chocolate bar and put it back. It knows if my body is facing the dried mangoes but my face is set on the popcorn.

And it knows (or is trying to know) when I am planning to steal.

A stolen photo of my family was used in a way I never imagined

Pictures of my kids were turned into memes by overzealous Scandal fans

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I’d thought I’d seen it all. That was until a friend and die-hard Scandal fan direct messaged me a photo of my kids’ heads Photoshopped in with Olivia Pope and Fitzgerald Grant. She found it on a Scandal fan page and thought I should know.

…Like many bloggers, I take precautions to copyright my work, add some watermarks and disable right clicks. But sometimes it’s just not enough to deter a photo snatcher. Through the years, my photographs have popped up in interesting places. To name a few:

  •    A stock photo website
  •    A Facebook meme supporting gay marriage
  •    In examples of a poster “multiracial family”
  •    A church flier in South Carolina
  •    Stock Etsy birthday cards
  •    And most recently, that Scandal fan club site

…In all seriousness, it’s more than a little disconcerting. People ask how I am not losing my mind over this, and the truth is, I have. I’ve tracked down and contacted numerous websites and asked for my family’s photos to be removed. I’ve sent a dozen cease and desist letters. Most came down without a response. Some came down with a profuse apology.