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New Technological Spies: Billboards

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Billboard

Credit: Myke2020, Wikimedia Commons

by Adam Toobin, Inverse

In the United States of America, billboards now see you. Or at least they see certain data from your mobile phone — age, gender, and location — which they can then sell to advertisers.

Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, an advertising company with thousands of billboards across the United States, will announce its plan, called Radar, to begin tracking information from passing mobile phones on Monday, reports The New York Times.

The company is only planning to record demographic data about users in the aggregate, meaning it is disassociated from any unique personal data. So in theory, Radar won’t be able to tell advertisers you’re on a road trip across the country after seeing you jet across the Midwest. There are, however, plenty of ways you make it possible for advertisers to figure that out on their own.

“In aggregate, that data can then tell you information about what the average viewer of that billboard looks like,” Andy Stevens, senior vice president for research and insights at Clear Channel Outdoor, told The New York Times. “Obviously that’s very valuable to an advertiser.”

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© 2016 Inverse

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