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Dangerous views: how corporations use Eye tracking technology to learn everything about us

Dangerous views: how corporations use Eye tracking technology to learn everything about us 1

Another surefire way to collect users’ personal information is to promote BigTech products and services. Eye tracking technology is becoming increasingly popular, tracking where you look and how your pupils and iris respond to many different factors. It is noteworthy that data collection does not require any special equipment – just a camera and video in HD format.

The authors of the IFIP (International Federation of Information Processing) book series “Advances in Information and Communication Technologies” claim that the data collected through eye tracking can reveal a lot of information about people. For example: gender, age, ethnicity, body weight, personal qualities, presence / absence of bad habits, emotional state, skills and abilities, fears, interests and sexual preferences. But that’s not all.

“Certain methods of eye tracking,” the publication said, “allow the detection of certain cognitive processes and can be used to diagnose various states of physical and mental health.”

According to Grandview Research, “the data analyzed are used to study a variety of psychiatric and neurological conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.”

How does Eye tracking work?

The surveillance system can see which way you are looking to understand what exactly you are looking at, but that’s not all. It also tracks the duration of gaze fixation, fast and smooth eye movements between fixations, acceleration of gaze and maximum speed of eye movement.

Eytracking analyzes the movement of the eyelids, observing how wide the eyes are open, how often a person blinks, and how long their eyes remain closed when they do so. The system notices the condition of the eyeballs, such as redness, dryness / humidity, can measure how dilated / narrowed the pupils (which is known to be an indicator of arousal), notes the color of the eyes and the texture of the iris. 

But not only the eyelids and eyes are in the competence of the eye tracker, but also the movement of the eyebrows, the skin around the eyes and its color, the number and depth of wrinkles, the shape of the eyes and others.

Biometric identity is established by several factors. The colors and patterns of the iris can be used in this regard as well as fingerprints. The reactions of the pupils, the speed of vision and the trajectory by which the eyes follow the movement of the object are also taken into account. 

Pupil dilation / narrowing can speak not only about a person’s physical condition, but also about his brain activity. For example, the frequency of blinking correlates with dopamine levels, which indicates purposeful, conscious behavior.

Pupil movement can tell about the main personality traits of a person – neuroticism, extraversion, flexibility, honesty, as well as curiosity. If we add to this the analysis of facial expressions, we can quite accurately identify emotions such as happiness, anxiety, joy, disgust, curiosity, nervousness, hostility, fear, anger, sadness, surprise, and others. wrote more about this.

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Researchers note that it is not always possible to clearly determine what exactly the views of a person are, because the reactions can be quite ambiguous.

iTracking, virtual reality
Tech corporations are already actively using eye tracking when creating AR / VR devices. Photo:

What do users risk?

“It can be assumed,” the authors write, “that some companies that have access to consumer tracking data have larger databases, experience, and financial resources than researchers. Facebook, for example, spends billions on research and development budgets.” in the field of iTracking, while the user base of the social network is more than 2.3 billion people.”

The advantages of this type of technology are obvious, especially in combination with virtual reality or augmented reality technology. Devices and applications can become as personalized and adapted to your current state and interests. Eye tracking, in particular, provides marketers with exceptional targeting opportunities to make users optimally receptive to new products and services.

Because companies are unlikely to voluntarily refuse to use or sell personal information that may be gleaned from data already collected, there should be strong regulatory incentives and controls.

And, of course, instant feedback at times, increases the ability to monitor you, manipulate and force you to make purchases. Data confidentiality will have to be forgotten, or you will have to respect your right to privacy without transmitting data, and therefore without using many services, without which, living in today’s world becomes more and more difficult.

As a result, under certain circumstances, any device from any manufacturer that is able to closely monitor your eyes, can get a lot of information about you.


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