Business

Face recognition advertisement in Tokyo taxicabs

The science fiction movie “Minority Report” (Steven Spielberg, 2002) is a wonderful cyberpunk action thriller which attracted big fans also with its stimulating portrait of the future in 2054.

In the scene where the detective Jon Anderton (main character portrayed by Tom Cruise) became a fugitive and fled through the city, digital signages

read his iris with sensors and advertised to him, saying “Good evening Mr.Anderton”

the moment left a strong impression of future advertisements. This ‘targeted advertisement’ is already the de facto standard in current world of internet, SNS, and online marketing. Furthermore, we’re beginning to see it for digital signages.

Taxicabs in Tokyo are now showing personalized ads for the passenger

More number of taxicabs in Tokyo are now equipped with tablet-type digital screens for passengers to kill time during the ride. Taxi giant “Nihon-Kotsu” launched the service in 2016, which later spun off as “Japan Taxi” company. The tablet automatically takes the picture of a passenger, identify the gender, and chooses advertisements to be aired.

There are services around the world where the geographic location and/or time may influence ads, but this one is ‘by your looks’.

Just as same as on the internet or SNS, ‘the right to privacy’ is an issue with targeted ads. Japan Taxi suspended its usage of taxi’s GPS data for ads last October, admitting that their disclaimer on privacy policy and the consent procedure was insufficient. Likewise, the Private Information Protection Committee suggested that the notification of camera and its usage isn’t enough. The disclaimer is illustrated now, GPS off-line, while the photograph is immediately disposed after the gender analysis.

Privacy rights to be ourselves

Innovative technology will enrich our lives and the economy, while the provider of services need to keep in mind that the outcome can be double-edged. Nevertheless, users are challenged to protect its rights with proper legal knowledge.

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say. ” Edward Snowden

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