See That Billboard? It May See You, Too

Daily News Article - March 3, 2016


1. What new venture has Clear Channel announced this week?

2. What will the company do with the data it collects? What is its goal? Be specific.

3. List the companies that are partnering with Clear Channel. (What does each do?)

4. What assurances do all of the companies give their customers?

5. Andy Stevens of Clear Channel acknowledged that the company’s new offering “does sound a bit creepy.” What reasoning does he use to excuse this idea?

6. What steps has the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) taken regarding consumer privacy?


7. From paragraph 8: “Some billboards…have been equipped with small cameras that collect information about the people walking by. Clear Channel Outdoor’s move is yet another attempt to modernize billboards and enable the kind of audience measurements that advertisers have come to expect.”
a) Do you think advertisers have a right to expect this type of detailed data?
b) Clear Channel tested the suite of data and analytics, which it calls Radar, with the shoe company Toms and said it found a rise in brand awareness and purchases. What impact do you think this will have on this data gathering program?

8. The right to privacy refers to the concept that one's personal information is protected from public scrutiny. U.S. Justice Louis Brandeis called it "the right to be left alone." While not explicitly stated in the U.S. Constitution, some amendments provide some protections.
a) Re-read paragraphs 9-10. Do you think privacy advocates are right to be concerned? Explain your answer.
b) Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton blast “Wall Street, big banks, big business,” etc. for their greed, for profiting off the little guy, for receiving “corporate welfare.”
Facebook and Google make billions of dollars a year compiling user data for their advertisers.  Mark Zuckerberg and Sergey Brin are multi-billionaires. Why do you think there has not been a big outcry against these billionaires who profit off of selling your privacy? (Try doing a google search for a certain product or store. Then notice what ads are popping up on websites you visit.)

9. What is your reaction to Clear Channel’s billboard data gathering program? Positive? Negative? Ambivalent? Indifferent? Explain your answer.