It's no secret that surveillance – both by government agencies and corporations – has become a major part of society. So too is the tracking of our actions and preferences as consumers. Data mining alone is a 100 billion dollar industry.
Here is a list of all the random things watching us. And these objects aren't just tracking data, trends, your browser history or credit card patterns, these things are actually watching YOU.
Buckle up, kiddos – time to rip the clothes off that decrepit pervy emperor!
1The Statue of Liberty Saw What You Did
That's right, Lady Liberty, the monolithic structure that greets our poor, tired, huddled masses, is part of Big Brother's surveillance enterprise. Actually, it has been since 2002, when early generation face-recognition software was installed. Since then, the technology has evolved and so has the amount of money infused into the surveillance industry. In 2012, contractor Total Recall Corp. outfitted our fair lady with FaceVACS-VideoScan software, which ravenously tracks all faces in real-time, pinpointing race, gender, ethnicity, age, and even "client behavior," whatever the hell that means.
Kind of ironic, that a larger than life symbol of Liberty and Democracy is being used for arguably unconstitutional domestic surveillance.
2Mannequins Have Cameras In Their Eyes
Yup. The $245 billion dollar luxury goods industry will stop at nothing to extract your soul and sell it back to you. Five companies in Europe and the U.S. are currently using the EyeSee polystyrene frame mannequins, whose eyes are equipped with police grade face-recognition cameras.
Italian mannequin maker Almax SpA supplies these bionic oddities, offering companies the holy grail of retail: "personalizing" their sales offerings. So, next time you're walking by a mannequin, remember: that unspeakably beautiful object could be watching you.
3Vending Machines Watch You Decide
The next time you're standing at a vending machine and start to feel embarrassed about your inability to decide between candy or chips, keep in mind that you may very well be under surveillance.
In Tulsa, a vending machine robbery was solved after the criminals' faces were captured on a camera situated inside. The cameras are owned and installed by the vending machine companies themselves. The purpose – besides law enforcement – is unknown.
4Kinect May Hear ALL Of Your Conversations (even when you're not playing)
Everybody knows that Kinect, the motion sensing console featured in millions of family living rooms, has a camera. Of course it does, that's how it senses your movements, but what if you found out that not only is Kinect recording and storing your activity, it may also be recording and storing the conversations you have while you're playing and even while it's turned off? That's right, Bif, you've let the big bad Big Brother demonwolf right into your house!
Microsoft officially denies that Kinect records conversations, but then in the same sentence they brag about the device's ability to read your heartbeat and recognize individual voices!
5Billboards Read Your Everlasting Soul
The company Immersive Labs has created software for digital billboards that allows them to watch your face and then tailor a specific ad based on your facial features. Next time you're waiting to catch a subway and those glowing marquees reflect your sad face across the tracks, expect a Prozac advertisement to pop up, or maybe an ad for liquor — depends if they're tracking your liver too!
6Jell-O/Kraft/Adidas....(In Capitalist America, Product Consumes You)
Jell-O, Adidas and Kraft all use facial recognition software in supermarkets to help them craft more effective TV commercials. The creepiest part of this is the cameras are actually linked up to Facebook as well, so the company could hypothetically couple their video surveillance with social media profiles for an even juicier data grab.
7The Big Bang Theory....Show Watches You!
No, not the primordial cosmic explosion that created all space, time, and matter – the TV show! You know, that quirky but hip, nerdy but chic sitcom that everyone loves.
As of April 2013, Verizon had applied to patent a new cable box that uses infrared cameras and microphones to track the activities of viewers during blocks of The Big Bang Theory.
So if by any chance you find yourself sweating and swooning when Penny appears on screen, you may soon get some commercials for the more lascivious dating sites.
8Seattle, the City of Seattle
The city of Seattle has got its eyes on you – almost literally. A new apparatus that is capable of hi-tech surveillance (and more) will be installed at many of the major intersections in downtown Seattle. So what, all cities have surveillance, right? Well, rumor has it that there is a new technology going on here that involves triangulating our cell phones, so that we become rogue devices.
Grunge is truly dead and buried – then again, grunge might have liked the attention.