Alfi personalised, real-time advertising
Occurred: July 2021
Alfi is a Miami-based digital marketing company that uses AI and computer vision to understand facial cues and perceptual details and matches relevant advertising or content based on the viewer’s profile.
The firm says its software is designed to show ads to people based on their age, gender and ethnicity without specifically identifying any individual.
In July 2021, Alfi drew criticism for saying it would run digital tablets equipped with facial recognition in 10,000 Uber and Lyft cabs in the US. The system analyses passengers' reactions to advertising and other content, sending information back to advertisers.
Uber and Lift told Bloomberg that Alfi contracts with their drivers directly, and that drivers must comply with local laws and regulations.
The move prompted a written request (pdf) for information from US senators Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal, who claimed the programme raises 'serious concerns about privacy for your passengers.'
According to Bloomberg, Alfi also plans to sell user data, including retina tracking, keyword recognition, voice intonation, and demographics.'
Operator: Uber; Lyft
Purpose: Sell advertising
Technology: Computer vision; Facial detection
Transparency: Governance; Privacy
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Published: October 2021
Last updated: January 2023