Some companies have started adding small cameras to billboards to collect data on passers-by.
Clear Channel’s Radar program teams up with several companies, including AT&T, to track the travel patterns of people passing by its billboards. The program uses mobile device data and other information to determine if people later visit a store or search their smartphones for the product. Some companies use geo-fencing, in which a billboard ad will pop up in an app on a mobile device.
Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, has called them “spying billboards” and demanded that the Federal Trade Commission investigate. “A person’s cellphone should not become a James Bond-like personal tracking device for a corporation to gather information about consumers,” he said in May, arguing that people needed to be able to opt out of being tracked.