Clear Channel's new outdoor advertising initiative -- which involves tracking consumers to figure out whether they visit stores after viewing billboards -- raises privacy concerns, according to Sen. Al Franken.
"When done appropriately, targeted advertising may provide consumer benefits, but we must ensure that Americans' very sensitive information, including their location data, is protected," Franken (D-Minnesota) writes in a letter to Clear Channel Outdoor Americas CEO Scott Wells.
Clear Channel's new program reportedly draws on location and demographic data from three other companies: AT&T, PlaceIQ (which uses location data from apps) and Placed (which pays customers to track them). Clear Channel told The New York Times that the data, which is anonymous and aggregated, doesn't identify individual customers.
Franken is asking the company to answer a host of questions, including ones about the anonymization process.
"At what stage are the data aggregated and anonymized?" he asks. "Is the information Clear Channel receives from mobile services already anonymized and aggregated or is Clear Channel responsible for making the data anonymous?"
"How does Clear Channel define "business and operational purposes"? Can you provide a list of all outside parties with whom Clear Channel may share personal information collected for the operation of Radar?" he asks.
Franken is requesting answers by March 30.
Clear Channel did not respond to MediaPost's requests for comment.