If your data in the digital world is somewhat compromised, a marketer can figure out what you want just by where your head is turning.
“Just by the direction your eyes move in, they can tell what you would be interested in and target ads that,” says Bradley Tusk, founder and CEO of Tusk Ventures, recently on CNBC.
Yikes! I watched a new Toyota Tacoma truck with the expensive gravel bike in the truck bed zipping around my neighborhood at high speed. Does that mean I’ll be getting more big truck ads, expensive $2,000 Trek bike digital banners, or more Geico/Progressive/State Farm insurance messaging on my favorite cable TV news network?
Tusk says governments and business desperately need a new protection framework to handle this kind of incursion on our lives. While European nations have data restrictions when it comes to marketers' usage, all to protect its citizens, in the U.S it is a lame situation.
Tusk says: “We don’t have basic protections, basic rights. Who owns what data? How can we transfer it? What’s not accessible? How can we take things down?”
This is pretty basic stuff. And yet, it is only getting wilder, deeper, and more insidious.
Digital media has been entrenched for some time in ownership of consumer data -- Alphabet (Google) and Meta Platforms (Facebook) in particular -- and legacy TV-based media companies are coming on strong. Where will they land? Maybe in places we don’t realize.
Newfangled fitness watches, or perhaps a live streaming cycling class that displays your heart rate and/or power data?
Sure, someone might be sending you some innocent advertising messages asking whether you want some new workout buddies. But what if those messages change to sending you an ad for ibuprofen -- after a particularly hard workout by way of your fitness data?
Perhaps this might extend more to out-of-home. Turning your head while driving when hungry at around lunchtime -- without a VR headset but with a smart interconnected automobile -- might have Taco Bell realize you need a reminder for a chalupa just to calm down.