Clear Channel Outdoor Americas (CCO  ) recently announced Radar, a new program that will track how customers interact with the company's billboard-and their subsequent commercial behavior. The first part of the program where the company tracks interaction is not new as Clear Channel (and many other traditional billboard advertising companies) has long tracked traffic in front of its billboards to tout specific locations' strengths to its clients. But Clear Channel is taking it a step further with Radar, where they will pair with AT&T (T  ) to track consumer movements after seeing the billboard to see where they go, what they do, and whether the billboard influenced consumer behavior. 

Clear Channel has tens of thousands of billboards across the United States, but is focusing its efforts in its top 11 markets which include many of the country's biggest cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. In each market, Clear Channel has made agreements with several cellular providers to track customer movements through smartphone activity. While the move appears invasive-even Clear Channel's CEO agrees-the partnership allegedly is not recording new data but rather utilizing data that cellular companies already have from its consumers. Clear Channel will take aggregate data from cell companies as opposed to individual, identifiable data (which cell companies say they do not receive) and match that with movements in front of their billboards.

After analyzing the data, Clear Channel hopes to provide better statistics to its clients about who sees what billboard when-thus developing more sophisticated, targeted marketing campaigns in the process. With the partnership, Clear Channel will be able to determine the average age and gender breakdown of consumers who see certain billboards at certain times, and whether certain demographics are more likely to visit a store.

Clear Channel has defended the move by insisting that tracking advertising data is nothing new, especially with sites like Google (NASDAG: GOOG) and Facebook (FB  ) curating advertisements for each user's specific browsing history. But many have cried out that this is an invasion into consumer privacy, like Senator Al Franken of Minnesota who wrote Clear Channel's CEO, Scott Wells, a letter demanding that the company explain clearly "what data are being collected about them, how the data are being treated, and with whom the data are being shared."

While Clear Channel has not yet responded to Franken's letter, others believe that Clear Channel's efforts are simply the logical next step in creating a more effective consumer landscape where, instead of being plastered with ads that are irrelevant to you, perhaps even billboards could be customizable and targeted. Radar's proponents say that data collection by mobile companies is nothing new, and that consumers' willingness to agree to privacy policies they haven't read is to blame. 

Clear Channel's new program is still in its early stages, with little data to show from it. Whether it will boost the company's bottom line and bring more advertisers to the traditionally "old media" billboard space is yet to be seen. Certainly the new Radar program can not bring in as detailed of data as "new media" internet advertising can, but perhaps it can evolve a field that many see as dying.