Increasingly, billboards made from paper or paint are being swapped for screens equipped with digital signage and facial detection capabilities. These can be used to make advertisements interactive, to conduct audience analytics or even to tailor advertisements based on the appearance of passers-by.
As these advertising techniques do not (necessarily) store any personal data, assessing both their impact on individuals’ privacy and the applicability of data privacy laws is difficult. The diverging approaches taken by European Data Protection Authorities are illustrative of these difficulties.
The primary focus of this panel is to canvas key issues in this context with the goal of achieving a sensible and consistent regulatory approach across the EU and beyond. In addition, the panel will discuss how such advertising techniques fit within the broader discussion of comparable technologies such as WiFi tracking and facial recognition for law enforcement purposes. The discussion will focus on the following main questions:
• Are current data privacy laws applicable to advertising practices which rely on facial detection?
• If so, what are the obligations of the various actors involved?
• Are these practices to be treated with similar caution to comparable facial recognition technologies, or are current best practices to be lauded as an approach that balances innovation with protection of individual rights?