Verizon's creepy spy-cam idea
The company wants to patent technology that watches you while you're watching television -- and shows you ads based on what you're doing.
Or maybe your young daughter is in the room watching a program with you. What if the TV saw this and started showing Barbie commercials?
That's exactly what Verizon (VZ) is proposing in a patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application describes a system that uses infrared cameras and microphones to watch what people are doing in front of a TV.
If two people are cuddling on a couch watching TV, the system might show them a commercial for a romantic vacation, flowers, and yes, even condoms, according to the application. The system could even figure out what pets are in the room and start showing dog food commercials or flea treatment ads.
Verizon declined to comment on the issue to FierceCable, the site that first uncovered the patent application. But the company later released a statement that said it "has a well-established track record of respecting its customers' privacy and protecting their personal information." Verizon said that such futuristic patent filings are routine, and anything it did in the future would be in line with its track record of protecting customer privacy.
Companies often file patents as a defensive move to protect an idea from competitors. Verizon likely wanted to cover this ground to keep anyone else from getting there first. And as shockingly invasive as the idea might seem, someone is going to go down this road eventually.
The problem with traditional TV advertising is that it can't account for what users are doing, the patent says. This limits the effectiveness of the ads.
Some observers have likened the idea to Google's (GOOG) Gmail service, which scans a users email and shows them ads based on messages they have sent or received. This practice has raised quite a few privacy alarms in the past, even though Google claims the entire process is automated and no human is actually reading your email. Now, Gmail users don't seem to care much at all.
Google is one of several companies interested in what Verizon is doing. In fact, Google filed a patent years ago for an "image capture device" that could measure how many viewers are watching a particular broadcast, Ars Technica reports. Comcast (CMCSA) has already patented an idea to recommend TV shows based on who it sees in the living room.
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In reply to Bryan 1234567
If you do nothing than it will be installed.
If you don't want it, fight it any way you can!
absurdity, atrocity, mind your own "business", and yes it would be shared!!!!
**** that ****. i wouldent put anything in my house that lets someone openly watch when they feel like it and **** jerseyite the diffrence with this and your computer tailoring your adds by what you surf is, no one is watching you surk on the computer thru your web cam or anything no one is watching you without your knowledge to find what ads to give you. but have something for them to see you and watch you, me and missus like to fool around on the couch sometimes. maybe we dont want that being seen
The federal government will have access just like they have with text messages without a warrant into your privacy.
We as voters put them in office and let them stay in office..(they = elected representatives.)
Join in with political groups and make your voice heard..
It would be Orwellian with a capital O if anyone would let them do this to the people! Just another case of our rights being trampled underfoot by corporations. Basically our rights going right down the tubes for them to do with what they please. (That's if TV's had tubes-bad pun)
Verizon may soon be watching me
From the other side of the screen you see
No chance for what used to be
Any concept of the principles of liberty.
While in front of the box we vegetate
Our freedoms will further deteriorate
More like a virtual visit to the zoo
As BIg Brother watches me and you
I agree wth an earlier post - if this comes about there should be an instant and precipitous drop in tv sales and viewing. This is nuts.
The privacy of one's OWN HOME, they don't have the right. If a person came and did this, they could be charged with crimminal trespass, along with a lot of legal violations for invasion of privacy. In fact, if a person did this, they'd be well within their rights to pick the person up by their boot strap, cart them to the front door, and give them a good swift kick with a steel toed size 11 or larger boot, as they quite literally boot the person out of their house and outside a certain legal parimeter around the house which without permission they're not allowed to occupy.
Now I say this, because the side walk doesn't count, nor does the legal right of access the town has (that portion of one's property they're legally allowed to claim for road expansion and what not). But within a certain distance that would allow one to observe what is transpiring within...
Funny thing is, many are concerned about the police, illegal searches and seizures, etc... But the private industry can be just as creepy, and just as invasive, exhibit a. being this news item itself. Now quick, everyone, time to buy black linen cloth to cover your DVR's with. Just make sure to cut a small whole for that area where the remote's censor is. It's in your house, obstructing the camera so they can't conduct secret marketing research on you, without your permission isn't against the law, nor is covering their equipment with heavy cloth. But placing a bug in your house, to track your activities, in the name of marketing research isn't beyond being suspect, and definitely SHOULD be illegal if it isn't already...
AND, what about subliminal messages, like....obozo is your friend,, you love obozo.
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The company has made at least 4 acquisitions in the space, and few people have paid any attention.
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