Screen Safe – Digital Signage, Privacy, the Law and Health and Safety

Advertising has always had its critics. Whether on TV, radio and even in the early days of print advertising, there have always been those that find advertising and invasion or privacy.

And things are even worse in the modern world. Email spam an unsolicited junk mail is an annoyance to the best of times, whilst digital signage is now creeping into all sorts of areas.

Ad creep

Ad creep is the term to describe how advertising has crept from the pages of newspapers, magazines and from TV and radio to have invaded nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives and is now found in shopping malls, schools, doctor’s offices, hospitals, restrooms, elevators, on ATM’s, and even on garbage cans, vehicles and restaurant menus.

There is a raft of laws to impinge advertising and to prevent our privacy from being invaded but with the advent of new advertising mediums like digital advertising and outdoor digital signage the advertising landscape is changing all the time.

Outdoor Digital Signage

Outdoor digital signage has generated quite a lot of criticism in many quarters because of supposed danger to vehicular traffic, it could pose. There are those that claim that bright moving images on roadside billboards are distracting and there have been a raft of measures to ensure that roadside digital signage is restricted.

New Technologies and Privacy

Further concern has been touted about the emerging technologies that are starting to develop in the digital signage world. Facial recognition is amongst them .This technology will allow advertisers to keep a log of an individual – using their face (or iris) as a method of recalling their data. Adverts could then be targeted specifically to an individual.

However, much of this controversy is an overreaction. As mentioned, advertising has always generated controversy and modern outdoor digital signage is just the latest in a long line of different advertising methods.

Perhaps the overreaction is best described by a quote fro the sci-fi cartoon Futurama which in the year 3,000 AD advertisers have the technology to beam adverts to you when you sleep, and the protagonist of the show, Fry, complains that in his time, adverts were:

“Only on TV and radio. And in magazines and movies, and at ball games, and on buses and milk cartons, and T-shirts and written in the sky – But not in dreams. No, sir-ee!”

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