Billboards Tracking Viewer Locations, Selling Data to Advertisers

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Billboards Tracking Viewer Locations, Selling Data to Advertisers

Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, an advertising company that has thousands of billboards across the US, has partnered with, AT&T Data Patterns, a unit of AT&T that collects location data from its subscribers; PlaceIQ, which uses location data collected from other apps to help determine consumer behavior; and Placed, which pays consumers for the right to track their movements and is able to link exposure to ads to in-store visits”, reports The New York Times. So what does that mean for you?

From the New York Times article:

“By aggregating the trove of data from these companies, Clear Channel Outdoor hopes to provide advertisers with detailed information about the people who pass its billboards to help them plan more effective, targeted campaigns. With the data and analytics, Clear Channel Outdoor could determine the average age and gender of the people who are seeing a particular billboard in, say, Boston at a certain time and whether they subsequently visit a store.”

Obviously, the companies insist that our privacy is protected; the data collected is anonymous and aggregated(data in the form of a cluster) so no single person could be identified. I know I’m using a cell phone and therefore my “privacy” is public knowledge of sorts, but even this seems shocking to me.

The plan, called Radar, is only intended to record demographic data about users. That means that Radar can’t tell advertisers that you are making a road trip from Battle Creek, MI to Dallas, TX, for instance(although there are ways that advertisers could figure that out). While the plan sounds a bit creepy, the enhanced billboards are already up in Clear Channel’s 11 major markets, including Los Angeles and New York, with plans to open sales to the rest of the country soon. And don’t think now that this cat is out of the bag, that it will stop at billboards; this opens the possibility for tracking our likes and dislikes- our buying preferences- through advertisements on bus stops, signs and city streets.

It’s a new world folks.

Source: Inverse and NY Times

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Erin Elizabeth

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Erin Elizabeth is a long time activist with a passion for the healing arts, working in that arena for a quarter century. Her site HealthNutNews.com is less than 2 years old but has already cracked the top 20 Natural Health sites worldwide. She is an author, public speaker, and has recently done some TV and film programs for some of her original work which have attracted international media coverage. You can get Erin’s free e-book here and also watch a short documentary on how she overcame vaccine injuries, Lyme disease, significant weight gain, and more. Follow Erin on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.