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One-Way-Mirror Society: High Privacy Risk Consumer Tracking Technologies

Facial recognition technology was initially developed for security purposes, but it has found a new use in digital signage for marketing and ad targeting purposes. Essentially, the process is that a camera captures an individual’s image, then checks it against algorithms that analyze at least 80 facial characteristics, such as distance between eyes, length of the face, width of the face, depth of eye sockets, and so forth. [48] Layers of algorithms are used to crunch the facial information into determinations about a person’s age bracket, gender, and ethnicity. The next efforts are going toward coding the facial expressions of shoppers to “capture their emotional reactions to in-store environments.” [49]

One-Way-Mirror Society: Consumer Responses to Digital Signage and Privacy Issues

Few consumers are aware that watching a video screen or interacting with a kiosk may mean they are being recorded and having their behavior, gender, age, and ethnicity analyzed. As a result, there has not been a robust public discussion of how consumers feel about these technologies.

One-Way-Mirror Society: What are the specific privacy issues posed by digital signage networks / what risks exist?

Security Camera Footage: Repurposing footage for marketing and profit

Perhaps the most egregious repurposing of data is the use of security camera footage for store marketing purposes. From the industry literature, this appears to be an established business practice at this point. It is one that needs to be examined closely.

One-Way-Mirror Society: Recommendations

There is no public awareness of the capabilities of digital signage, and that has to change before for any debate over regulation or legislation can start. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify from other privacy arenas the types of standards that should be considered for users of digital signage. Full recommendations will only be possible at a later stage. Here are some preliminary ideas.