Empathic media and advertising: Industry, policy, legal and citizen perspectives

Big Data and Society 3 (2) (2016)
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Abstract

Drawing on interviews with people from the advertising and technology industry, legal experts and policy makers, this paper assesses the rise of emotion detection in digital out-of-home advertising, a practice that often involves facial coding of emotional expressions in public spaces. Having briefly outlined how bodies contribute to targeting processes and the optimisation of the ads themselves, it progresses to detail industrial perspectives, intentions and attitudes to data ethics. Although the paper explores possibilities of this sector, it pays careful attention to existing practices that claim not to use personal data. Centrally, it argues that scholars and regulators need to pay attention to the principle of intimacy. This is developed to counter weaknesses in privacy that is typically based on identification. Having defined technologies, use cases, industrial perspectives, legal views and arguments about jurisprudence, the paper discusses this ensemble of perspectives in light of a nationwide survey about how UK citizens feel about the potential for emotion detection in out-of-home advertising.

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