Billboards That Look Back at You

I never thought much about looking at billboards along the highways, or in the cities where they would light up the nightime sky. Now I have found out that they may be looking back too, thanks to the mobile technology we may be carrying in our pockets or purses.”  And while nearly all of these advertising companies claim that the data they collect is anonymous and aggregated – and that consumers can opt out of tracking at any time – privacy advocates are skeptical.”  So maybe we should be too?  I think that we would all like the right to know who is “tracking” us.  

But not to worry.  Remember, we have been assured that all these data are anonymous and aggregated.  Still, people have no idea that they are being tracked and targeted.  In addition, some of the collectors of these data have been sharing (selling?) location information with interested third parties like commercial advertisers.  In addition, many consumers feel they have been misled about what opt-out options there really are.

Maybe the next President and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission can figure this all out when we have new federal leadership in 2017.  Unfortunately, I am not as hopeful as I should be when I look at the unfolding political scene.

Ray Myers

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