By Tim Smith Jul 6 2012 Blog

Big Brother, Big Government & Big Opportunities in Advertising

Mashable released a pretty interesting article last week discussing the work the FBI is conducting to build a database of iris scans throughout the U.S. By 2014, tests will take place that leverage cameras throughout the U.S. to track criminals, fugitives, and suspects through eye scans and report their whereabouts in real time. For everyone who gets skittish about ‘Big Brother,’ I’ll pause for your shudders.

We can expect there to be uproar about personal privacy and a rise in membership in the American Civil Liberties Union, however history has shown us that when technology begins to border on invasion, the populace is able to beat it back pretty quickly (see Facebook’s Beacon experiment, Carrier IQ, UDID, robust retargeting, etc.). Personally, I am pretty pumped about the government’s involvement with iris scanning because this is actually good news for advertising.

Government funding means two things: legitimate technology and secondary applications. Iris scans mean tracking technology applications that can help deliver a true view into the value of Digital OOH and place-based media.  In theory, this same technology should allow us to determine how many consumers look at advertisements, how long they are engaged, and where they are looking on the sign. We’re no longer talking about handheld clickers counting each passer-by or mapping traffic routes – this will bring us closer to digital measurement in the outdoor space than anything has to date.

Where else do you see this technology being applicable?

Read More from MashableHello, Big Brother: FBI Is Building a Database of Iris Scans