Tl;dr the surveillance capitalism selfie boom is powering the facial-recognition surveillance state.

One of the closest encounters I’ve (knowingly) had with this was in the Conrad casinotel in Macau. The staff there always knew who we were, in particular always greeting us by name whenever we walked into the lounge.1 There was a long, narrow corridor between the elevator and the lounge with seemingly no purpose; I assumed it was basically just a very luxuriously appointed mantrap, long enough for the camera to match any approaching guest against the ID photo they’d had to provide during check-in. If you want to experience firsthand that uncomfortable intersection between “cutting-edge customer service” and “vaguely threatening surveillance state,” luxury casinos are pretty much your Ur-examples.

  1. At one point, I “snuck” a friend—who was traveling with us but staying at a neighboring hotel—into the lounge. The hotel clerks called my husband to let him know his “wife and son” had arrived for breakfast. []