Philly Tech Trends: How Concerned Should You Be About Screens Violating Your Privacy?

Girl using a kiosk.
Image via iStock.
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In our digital world, screens are everywhere. But now people are worrying this technology might be getting used to secretly stealing information from ordinary citizens. Some might dismiss that as a conspiracy theory, but experts weigh in on whether that is likely or even possible.

In a post for the AVNetwork, the site consulted with various technology experts on how plausible it is that digital signs could be used to harvest information from people. The first takeaway is that it is indeed possible. However, it would not be considered ethical beyond certain limits.

“We’ve heard of cases where people discover that a camera has been hidden in a wayfinding kiosk and things blow up because people think that their information is being stolen,” said Marielle Crisanti, a business development manager at VWMason Technology Consultants.

“In reality it’s stored for a very minimal amount of time and [the camera is] not actually collecting any personal information. As long as we’re transparent about how the technology is being used—and you’ve got a privacy policy in place that people can easily access—I think that we’re doing a good job.”

However, people are especially leery about corporations nowadays. Scandals such as Facebook selling the information of their users have people distrustful of what surreptitious uses everyday technology might be hiding. Now with many places requiring temperature scans to enter due to Covid, people question what else those devices might be tracking.

Benson Chan, the senior partner at Strategy of Things, offers his take. “Let’s say they have a kiosk that does temperature scanning, and it detects someone with a high temperature. What do you do next? Do you take that information and say, ‘I’m going to report you,’ or ‘I’m not going to let you into the office?’ What do you do with that information?”

Chan and the other experts elaborate that the best solution to these uncertainties is for companies to be more transparent. Rather than just assume people won’t have any objections to their information being used, these industry specialists say companies should be clearly stating what information they are acquiring, for what purpose, and how long it will be kept.

That kind of clarity in communication is what will build trust with people and dispel their worries that organizations have something nefarious to hide.

To learn more about what digital signage is capable of, read the post from the AVNetwork by clicking here.

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