New ad serving technology raising privacy concerns

September 27, 2011 by Dave Haynes

If you use or have an interest in – pro or con – video analytics technology used to count audiences and intelligent serve ads on screens, you should read this piece in PC World that explores the debate about online ad-serving and personally identifiable information.

The piece looks at the big investment Microsoft and other companies are putting into a firm that tries to determine and then leverage the underlying intentions of consumers exposed to advertising. Based on tracking what people do, the proposition is that the technology has a better handle on what people intend to buy.

The anonymous video analytics people are very careful in explaining that their technology just counts and responds to patterns the software understands to be faces and parses that by gender and other variables. But privacy people still remain wary of the possibilities.

This piece is interesting because while the technology is different, the issues are similar. And in this case, the company in the middle of it is saying they don’t do anything to invade privacy, but people looking at it say the opposite.

There’s also the larger question of whether this can actually make solid determinations of consumer intent, or just better educated guesses.


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