Kyoto police using targeted YouTube ads to warn would-be voyeurs

The crime of taking secret photos and videos of other people is sadly nothing new, but in the prefecture of Kyoto it appears to be a particularly growing problem.

According to the Kyoto Prefectural Police Personal Safety Division, arrests for voyeur recordings are already up 25 percent from last year, and it’s still only October.

As a result, the authorities there have decided to take matters into their own hands with a more pro-active approach. They’ve produced a six-second ad with the simple but strong message: “Voyeurism is a crime. Someone is watching! Punishment will be strict.”

The above video is a news report showing the ad, because I couldn’t get a proper video of the warning itself. The reason is that it only appears as an unskippable ad to certain users on YouTube as well as other video streaming sites and social media platforms, targeting males over the age of 18 who have terms such as “peeping” and “small camera” in their search histories.

In other words, those very same dubious targeted advertising practices that infringe on people’s privacies to push goods and services online are now being used against people who would infringe on the privacy of others in the real world.

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