One-Way-Mirror Society: Recommendations

Report home | Read the report (PDF) | Previous section | Next section


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.

1. The full present and future capabilities of digital signage should be publicly disclosed and discussed. There needs to be a full debate on what should be considered as anonymous information. Digital signage that collects or stores any consumer information should require actual, real-time notice to consumers. The extent of the notice may vary with the type of information collected. A sign that merely counts the number of consumers who pass raises fewer concerns than a sign that identifies the age, gender, or ethnicity of consumers. A sign that combines visual information with known identifiable information (e.g., from a frequent shopper card) raises the highest level of concern. The length of time information will be stored is another factor.

2. Self-regulation for privacy has been consistently failed in the past to provide fair, adequate, or balanced protections for consumers. No industry self-regulatory standards should be invited or accepted by regulators unless consumer representatives have been involved in the development of the standards.

3. Showing different consumers different advertisements is one thing. Using digital signage consumer identification capabilities to support differential pricing or other material differential offerings is a much more serious concern. At a minimum, some differential practices should be disclosed in real time, and other differential practices should be banned.

4. Consumer information collected through digital signage should be covered by complete and detailed privacy and security policies that reflect full implementation of Fair Information Practices.

5. If consumer information (including videos) is to be disclosed in response to subpoenas or court orders, every effort should be made to notify consumers in advance unless a law enforcement interest requires that notice be withheld.

6. The use of digital signage with any information collection capabilities – no matter how minor – should be expressly prohibited by law in some areas, such as changing rooms; schools; children’s play areas; bathrooms; locker rooms; health care facilities (including pharmacies in supermarkets); places where over-the-counter drugs and health foods are sold; government offices; video, book and magazine stores and other places where First Amendment interests are exercised; hotel rooms; and other places.

7. Any choices offered to consumers with respect to the recording of their information or activities through digital signage should be made only after full, fair, and complete notice. Choices should require consumers to express affirmative consent, and the choices should no be expressed simply as an adjunct to a cell phone call or other activity.

8. The collection of information about children under the age of 13 and of teenagers should be the subject of special consideration and separate regulation.



Roadmap: The One-Way-Mirror Society – Privacy Implications of the new Digital Signage Networks: VIII. Recommendations


Report home | Read the report (PDF) | Previous section | Next section