GM Files Patent To Make Minority Report Billboards A Reality

In Minority Report, Tom Cruise was served up individually-targeted ads. Now it appears General Motors wants to make this futuristic science fiction technology a reality with a just-published patent for billboards designed to serve up ads targeting a specific car based on their last navigational system input.

At the moment, view this new GM patent as a possible step on the road to the future seen in Minority Report. In that future, your biometric data is accessed (via retinal scan) to serve up ads based on past preferences (i.e., being an American Express card holder for seven years or where you went on vacation or your latest watch purchase).

Here, it appears that GM (and its OnStar service) isn't allowed to — thanks to Onstar's own Terms of Service — use anything other than the destination you just input into your vehicle (along with external, randomized databases such as a seasonal driving pattern calendar based on all American drivers and information on the destination itself and why someone might be driving there) to serve up an ad. That data, we're told, is then deleted from the ad server and only an anonymized record that an OnStar user (no tracking of which OnStar user) made a request for that destination point is left on OnStar's servers.

In fact, your credit card companies now keep — and use to serve ads and services to you — more than GM and OnStar keep on file with a much more potentially abusive technology. If anything, credit card companies should be looking to GM and OnStar for the right way to use personal data rather than the credit score-mining they've become known for.

But, that's only right now. Who knows what the future might hold. (Hat tip to ChiefPontiaxe!)

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