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Add SceneTap to the Growing List of Big Brother Apps?

SceneTap is a new app targeted towards 1) the nightlife scene, and 2) people who prefer to experience the nightlife scene from the confines of their computers and smartphones. It’s kind of like a more predatory Zagat, for the marginally creepy.

The technology behind SceneTap is kind of cool in an uncomfortably invasive way: cameras with facial detection software are installed at bars, nightclubs, and other venues that have agreed to participate in the service (so far only a dozen or so spots are playing ball). Using an algorithm, the software collects basic data on the patrons, primarily gender and age, then feeds it back to the SceneTap app and site for public display. Smile, y’all!

The application is available on the Apple App Store and the Android App Store (Google Play).

SceneTap CEO Cole Harper attempted to assuage privacy concerns in his open letter to San Francisco. He states: “Here’s the thing – there are no videos or images stored at any time. Once the data is triggered, the images are overwritten, deleted, gone. […] It’s all data and numbers – that’s it. And since we’re only focused on the door, you’re free to do keg stands and dance like Bernie or hit on that bartender all you want – we do not track you in the venue.”

It’s kind of terrifying how we’re advancing towards an age where third parties can so conveniently gain access to our personal information even at a crowded bar, but at the very least, it’s reassuring to know that the information that ultimately gets published is aggregate and anonymous (for now?). Still, SceneTap will need to overcome the many social implications inherent in an app that not only commodifies youth and gender, but essentially, our data.