Report – The One-Way-Mirror Society: Privacy Implications of the New Digital Signage Networks

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on March 31, 2010

World Privacy Forum: “New forms of sophisticated digital signage networks are being deployed widely by retailers and others in both public and private spaces. From simple people-counting sensors mounted on doorways to sophisticated facial recognition cameras mounted in flat video screens and end-cap displays, digital signage technologies are gathering increasing amounts of detailed information about consumers, their behaviors, and their characteristics, like age, gender, and ethnicity. These technologies are quickly becoming ubiquitous in the offline world, and there is little if any disclosure to consumers that information about behavioral and personal characteristics is being collected and analyzed to create highly targeted advertisements, among other things. Few if any consumers expect that the video screen they are watching, the kiosk they are typing on, or the game billboard they are interacting with is watching them back while gathering images of them and behavioral information. This is creating a one-way-mirror society with no notice or opportunity for consumers to consent to being monitored in retail, public, and other spaces or to consent to having their behavior analyzed for marketing and profit. The privacy problems inherent in digital networks are profound, and to date these issues have not been adequately addressed by anyone. This report by the World Privacy Forum seeks to shed light in a dark area and to start a more robust public debate. In addition to the report, the WPF has released with a group of the nation’s leading consumer groups a set of privacy principles to be used in digital signage networks.”

  • The One-Way-Mirror Society, Privacy Implications of the new Digital Signage Networks, by Pam Dixon, January 27, 2010
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