Churchix – Where Church meets Big Brother.

Church. Its a safe place to be right? A chance to escape the scrutiny of life, and focus on the one that makes us whole, right? A place and time where if you want to just come, and be, thats fine. Right?

Going to Church is after all, a nice and simple experience. A experience that is away from the privacy sapping experience that is day to day life. After all, the combined corporate might of Facebook, Sainsbury’s, and the location data from my phone could tell you too much about me. Its nice that the church isn’t part of that right?

Welcome to Churchix. Simply put its a facial recognition software for churches to who has attended what church service. The person that runs the software has a collection of photos of people for the software to look for, they connect up a camera, and can automatically track who has attended the service that is being “watched”.

This video shows it in action:

The churchm.ag site has had an interview with big brother the guys behind Churchix, and asked them about privacy, and the reaction of Churches to Churchix:

What about invasion to privacy?

Well that’s a good question. It’s important to understand that churches already manually track their members’ attendance. We just provide automatic and efficient way of tracking attendance using face recognition technology. We encourage churches to set up Churchix in a registration checkpoint where members are voluntary registering themselves by just looking at a camera. The church can offer members different incentives that will happily make them look at the camera.

What are the reactions to Churchix?

Reactions are simply overwhelming. Churches we spoke with are saying it’s like a dream come through. Imagine the effort required to manually track the attendance of 100 or 500 members. Try to manually track and register 1,000 members – It’s almost impossible. With Churchix it’s a piece of cake.

How does Churchix work?

Churchix is a desktop application which you can download and start using immediately. It allows the church to enroll its members’ photos into the software data base, and connect a live camera or upload pre-recorded video files or photos for face recognition matching.

Each face appearing in front of the camera is extracted and being matched against the pre-enrolled members. Churchix displays the matches in real-time and allows the church to manually override matches in case of a wrong identity.

The rest of the interview can be found here.

Sofa cant shake the feeling that this is all massively creepy, and is an example of technology being used to suit people in power, and not used to benefit people in general.

There also seems to be a similarity with a scene in Minority Report…

 

What do you think of facial being installed in Churches?

With thanks to @edaross for chucking this in my direction.

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