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    San Francisco Chronicle: Technology leading to more invasive marketing

    The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the increasing use by marketers of technology to “hyper-personalize” advertising.

    Sure, flying cars may not be zooming near the windows of our 40th-floor lofts and robots with aprons aren’t cooking our meals, but the future is getting here. Unfortunately, it’s starting to look like something between “Minority Report” and “1984” – at least when it comes to marketing.

    Advertisers and retailers are increasingly using technologies to mine for consumers’ demographical information, create super-personalized ads and zero in on people’s shopping habits.

    Proponents say new technologies are getting products that consumers want into their hands faster and eliminating ads that don’t speak to them. But privacy advocates are concerned no one’s asking people if they want targeted ads or if they agree to be studied as they shop. […]

    Meanwhile, a handful of Whole Foods grocery stores in Chicago and Canada installed cameras last year that use facial recognition software to analyze passing shoppers and cater ads to them.

    According to an Intel video showcasing the anonymous video analytics detection software powering the digital ads, the program helps marketers “understand how many people watch their displays, how long they look, what content is viewed, as well as audience demographics.” […]

    In a report released in late January, the World Privacy Forum said retailers aren’t doing enough to inform consumers about how they are being recorded, how their information is being used or even allow them to consent to the practice.

    “While most consumers understand a need for security cameras, few expect that the video screen they are watching, the kiosk they are typing on, or the game billboard they are interacting with is watching them while gathering copious images and behavioral and demographic information,” the report said.

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