Face-scanning ad billboards turn public spaces into spaces of commerce and control

Vice writes about how public advertisement billboards in the UK turn up the dial a notch or two towards a pervasive Deleuzian society of control (pdf).

“Companies in the UK are collecting data from millions of phones to decide which advertisements to show on billboards in locations all around Britain, according to a new investigation by Big Brother Watch, a London-based civil liberties group known for confronting public surveillance issues.”

So what’s the problem? This quote sums it ip nicely, when it comes to the erosion of publicness and collective ownership:

“Arvind Narayanan, a professor of computer science at Princeton University, says that one of the main problems with companies using data-gathering technologies to personalize billboards is that it “erodes the idea of public spaces.””

“It is hard to have spontaneous and casual social interactions with strangers when you’re staring at content targeted at you and you know you’re being surveilled,” Narayanan told Motherboard over email. “These technologies manage the feat of simultaneously harming our privacy and our sense of community.””

And here is an explicit reference to the idea of tech subtly ‘modulating’ affects and behaviors of ‘dividuals’, as described by Deleuze:

““The whole point of surveillance advertising or digital advertising is to modify our behaviors in certain ways or modify our attitudes in certain ways,” Matthew Crain, an associate professor of media and communication at Miami University, told Motherboard.”

Link to Vice article >>

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