Tesco to 'scan' shoppers for advertising data
Tesco is installing hundreds of hi-tech screens that scan the faces of shoppers as they queue at tills to detect their age and sex for advertisers.
The supermarket says the system is not in operation in Ireland and there are no plans to introduce it here.
The chain has signed a deal with Amscreen, a digital signage company owned by Alan Sugar, in a move which drew concern from privacy campaigners about the growing use of "invasive" technology in shops.
The 'OptimEyes' system will be installed on the forecourts of 450 Tesco petrol stations in the UK, which serve millions of customers a week.
Cameras built into a digital advertising display above the tills identify whether a customer is male or female, estimate their age and judge how long they look at the advertisement displayed.
The "real-time" data is fed through to advertisers to give them some idea of how effective their campaigns are.
The scenario is reminiscent of one in 'Minority Report', the 2002 science fiction film in which actor Tom Cruise's character is bombarded with personalised advertisements after sensors detect him by scanning his eyes.
Simon Sugar, the chief executive of Amscreen, told 'The Grocer' magazine: "Yes, it's like something out of 'Minority Report', but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible."
Privacy campaigners said last night that the sharp increase in personal data collection was threatening to spiral out of control. (© Daily Telegraph, London)