We are now officially in an era when science fiction has not proven imaginative enough to project what lengths governments would do to get into computers and advertisers will do to get into our heads — or bank accounts.
You may remember how Minority Report, the Steven Spielberg movie based on the Philip K. Dick story, imagined personalized advertisement in the future:
Well, knowing your name and how long you’ve been a card member seems only mildly invasive compared to what Apple may be up to.
As you know, Apple’s Tim Cook has been vigorous in defending users’ right to privacy. As the world’s biggest luxury brand, Apple has an advantage over companies like Google that rely on turning their customers into products. However, with the companies’ forays into new advertising-based ventures like streaming music, that ethic may be harder to enforce. And a new patent application aligned with the Apple Pay product suggests a dramatic new leap into users personal space.
Method and system for targeted advertising of goods and services to users of mobile terminals, based for example on the users’ profile. Goods and services are marketed to particular target groups of users sharing a common profile which may be selected to increase the likelihood of the users responding to the advertisements and purchasing the advertised goods and services. The common profile of users may be based on the amount of pre-paid credit available to each user. An advantage of such targeted advertising is that only advertisements for goods and services which particular users can afford, are delivered to these users.
This suggests the advertisements you see will be based on your ability to pay for them.
Could this be a good thing for consumers?
Is it better to not be bombarded with ads for things you can’t afford, at least based on the account Apple has access to? Perhaps. The problem with these sort of privacy concerns is they’re so beyond what we’ve imagined that we can’t imagined the consequences.
On the surface, it seems far less worrisome than Google only showing ads for high prestige jobs to men, not women.
But given how much trouble most people have budgeting their own money, do we really want to put advertisers in direct contact with our wallets?
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