Anyone who’s taken a taxi in Japan this past year may have seen a tablet in front of them. Whether or not you were aware, this tablet is likely to have scanned a picture of your face in order to gather data about you, including your age, gender, as well as other defining characteristics.
That data may very well have been used to show you the most relevant advertisement towards your assumed interests, best known as targeted advertising.
This practice taking place in Japanese cabs recently made it’s a way to social media after someone shared a photo of the tablet in his taxi. The tablet was pictured explicitly explaining that it was being used to estimate the passenger’s gender for the purposes of delivering personalized content.
This is a rather alarming preview of what’s ahead of us when it comes to advertising, and what we may see spread across the globe.
This tablet, known as Premium Taxi Vision, was introduced in January, and according to a webpage, it has the goal of making taxi rides more convenient and comfortable. Based on this definition, it seems as though their understanding of convenient and comfortable means not seeing an unsuitable advertisement.
According to sources, the video taken of taxi riders is used to create a personalized profile. That profile, without the video, is sent to Geniee, Inc, an advertising company. Geniee then sends a relevant advertisement to the passenger’s ride. The footage itself of the passenger is removed and never shared outside of the tablet.
Nonetheless, it still seems far from a private experience.