“As technology for digital signage matures and becomes more interactive and personalized with beacons and video analytics, should regulation similar to the recent GDPR and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) policies for the web be implemented for digital signage?”
Up to this point in time, privacy invasion has not been a huge concern for digital signage. The industry trend is clearly leaning toward the adoption of measurement, identification and surveillance. As we continue to bring the Internet experience into the physical world, privacy policies are a necessity.
There are many technologies used today that intrude upon consumer privacy. Facial recognition can calculate the age of a passerby as well as their gender and race; then bring up an advertisement to match that consumer’s profile. Location data can be used to target consumers with programmatic ad buys. Technology sophistication is continuing to evolve. Our world is beginning to resemble one out of the popular Tom Cruise film, Minority Report.
The interesting thing is, most consumers are oblivious to the tracking that is happening and how quickly our technology is advancing. Demand for these types of policies will ramp up as general awareness increases.
Back in 2009, an ad campaign with digital billboards in the UK displayed personalized content to passing cars. Roadside cameras scanned license plates and ran the numbers through the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). That information was used to display the drivers’ license number and the best motor oil for that make and model of car. The general public was outraged, and questions quickly arose about whether the use of motor vehicle registration data for marketing violated UK privacy laws. This led to the abrupt shutdown of the campaign.
Needless to say, consumers are definitely sensitive to their personal information being exposed, shared and leveraged to sell them products. As we move into 2020 and beyond, it is important to begin to openly address some of these privacy concerns. If we do not, we are at risk of the public considering our industry as disrespectful and intrusive. Staying ahead of consumer expectations is critical.