Before the cellphones, a more crude approach was to listen for parasitic emissions of car FM radios, and inferring the current majority demographics in the vicinity of the billboard from the stations tuned in.
It’s deeply unfortunate that there is no way to let people like this rot in the dystopian hell of their own making without the side effect of having it spread to us as well.
I would love for the billboard to show what’s actually on my mind, but that would lead to indecency complaints.
Can anyone here honestly say that they wouldn’t love to see some homophobic wing-nut walk down the street and start getting blasted by ads for products and “services” that would tell everyone about his real feelings about the subject?
With the advent of body-area networks the advertisers will be likely exploiting those too. Bluetooth is there already, and the phones can be tracked by them; some time ago I used bluetooth proximity scanning and some server software to find if dad is coming home when he was still out in the street.
You can correlate the bluetooth IDs with the content you are accessing from the local wifi. That then becomes your persistent identifier as you move from a station to station, from a billboard to billboard. And even without any assistance from the telcos, beyond the installation of the accesspoints (for which you don’t even really need a telco, any IT contractor will do), you can be profiled easily. Then, assuming a crowd situation, you correlate the approximate entering/leaving of the free wifi with the appearance/disappearance of the given bluetooth identifier, and you have a persistent ID, coupled with a neat interests-profile, to track around.
With detailed enough profiling and tracking, it can get a bit freaky when you become a target group of one, alone at the train station, and all the screens show stuff just for you.
On a side note, and along the lines of the video, different pieces of electronics have their own EMI signatures. I can imagine billboards that identify/profile you by the types of what you are carrying and its current activity (a sleeping iPhone 4, a newest Samsung tablet at full operation, an ancient cellphone that does a lot of SMS receiving/sending, another phone that is performing a call…) even without any need to watch your network connections.
Great. Now I’m not even going to be able to walk down the street without everyone knowing about my fetish for hamster porn.
I’m sure some (young) people will find this helpful or interesting…certainly the spokespeople are well dressed and well spoken: love those accents!
You want to sell me something related to ecchi anime and Russian dash cam videos: go ahead, that’s on you. I might actually buy it. But if you display it on a billboard…you might be sorry.
I’ve grown too jaded to be surprised at the lengths taken to remove money from wallets. I used to (and still do privately) RAGE against the machine, if you will: the theft of supposedly democratic process by moneyed interests. The stultifying stupidity and crassness of popular culture. The winner take all, image is everything, “get money” drive behind so much of the innovation of late.
Though I suppose the same could be said for the past few millennia as well…
But this latest incarnation of the Internet-era seems to be an intersection between ‘a fool and his money…’ and ‘build a better mousetrap…’ One is good, one is bad…what will result? Our latest incarnation of Modern Society promises many big changes…but also much ouroboros-style tail eating as well.
I dunno…once you put enough sugar in it…Kool Aid doesn’t taste so bad. But it sure ain’t nutritious.
You took the words from my head! I was just thinking about my mind occasionally wandering into erotic fields, and the billboard lighting up into flights of soft porn… Nah - can’t see that as working!
Complaints? Hell, my indecency would win awards.
Now with 30% more Profound Insights™©®.
Maybe this is an ad for the next series of Black Mirror?
It seems like this would be one huge gaping security hole with an emphasis on “gaping holes” - all goatse, all the time!
“Shepard, you’ve recently been dead. Don’t you deserve the quality and distinction of a traditional asari burial robe?”
It will be a hacker’s dream!
Forget that Banksy guy, our newest “vandals” will be video-mashup wizards!
If it is about advertising, the omnipresent audiovisual pollution, it is not vandalism but reclaiming of public space.
Heck, everyone else seems to think they can. Why not billboards?
They do say the data is anonymised.
They also say “profound” and “insight” far too many times.
I wonder if there is an opt out option for users?
You know it’s a bad sign when you see a massively invasive technological panopticon so garish and intrusive that you think “Damn, at least the NSA does it silently”. Unfortunately, rf-tracking based marketing probably qualifies as one such instance.