Billboard Cameras Scrutinize Features of Passersby

A new plan by start-up companies to install cameras on billboards to get a better feel for who their target audience is has some privacy advocates steaming, The New York Times reported.

Cameras already are a common tool in catching illegal activity and screening for terrorist activity on metropolitan streets, but the billboard technology analyzes facial structure to determine a viewer’s gender, age and time spent viewing in hopes of more successfully targeting digital ads to a passerby’s likely preferences, The New York Times reported.

The entrepreneurs say privacy should not be an issue since actual images are not stored.

"Everything we do is completely anonymous," Paolo Prandoni, founder and chief scientific officer of Quividi, a two-year-old company based in Paris, is quoted in The Times. His company is setting up small digital billboards in the United States and other countries.

One of the Quividi cameras was pointed out to lawyer Sam Cocks, 26, on the streets of New York City over Memorial Day weekend.

"That’s disturbing," Cocks told The Times. "I would say it’s arguably an invasion of one’s privacy."

Click here to read the full story in The New York Times.