Mastercard thinks forcing you to smile for capitalism isn’t scary at all
Mastercard thinks you look so much prettier when you smile.
Well, to be more specific, Mastercard thinks you look so much prettier when you buy things using its services and now suggests you smile while you do so. In reality, yesterday he announced the rollout of a new “biometric payment program” using smiles and hand gestures to approve your transactions. Yes, it’s true: if you want to buy your next prescription deodorant, you better be ready to smile like the fucking Cheshire Cat.
To put it as bluntly as humanly possible: Mastercard is trying to sell you more biometrics and fake a smile to spend money you probably don’t have on items you probably don’t. need. I’d laugh at the thought, but I don’t want to accidentally buy that deodorant again. I’m not that sweaty, I swear.
Consumer, has this ever happened to you? — “No more fumbling for your phone or reaching for your wallet when your hands are full,” reads the official statement from Mastercard, because we all know how full our hands can be…after donating our purchases desired to a cashier and/or has he already bagged them? “Once registered, there is no need to slow down the checkout line by reaching into their pockets or purse. Consumers can simply check the bill and smile at a camera or wave their hand overhead. of a reader to pay,” the ad continues later.
Mastercard is also apparently trying to lean into the ‘public health’ angle here, arguing that it’s a great way to expand contactless payment method options, as the recent ‘tap-to-pay’ system is so dirty, obviously.
Let’s look at the statistics – To convince busy customers that forcing a smile is a big step forward for commerce, Mastercard offers plenty of statistics indicating the general public’s support for biometric data technology. Although this may be true, it does not mean that the public is to the right on conveying their eagerness and confidence in addition to fingerprints and face scans.
Biometric technology can be notoriously biased based on race, something we’ve been shown time and time again. Not only that, but data is routinely abused by the powers that be in various countries, and it’s not yet clear how much damage can be done if this kind of information falls into the hands of the wrong actors. Not only is Mastercard’s new “smile” feature demeaning, it’s potentially dangerous – and there’s nothing to smile about.