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New Ad Displays Actually Watch Consumers

BIOMETRICS—JAPAN

September 3, 2010

Billboards in Japan are being replaced with flat-screen monitors with cameras and sensors to glean more information about who is looking at them, The Wall Street Journal reports. To target consumers more directly, the public displays use facial-recognition technology to determine not only how many people looked at the visual but also their gender and level of attentiveness. The technology is raising privacy concerns as Japan does not have any laws that require notification that signs are equipped with cameras or rules for handling the information captured as people pass by or stop to look, the report states. According to Yasuhiko Tajima of Sophia University and the Campaign Against Surveillance Society, privacy protection depends too much on the consciences of individual companies. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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