The Spying DVR: Because We Like It When Our TV Watches Us Back

No, this doesn’t sound creepy and over the line or anything. Nope, not in the slightest.

Fierce Cable was first to report on a patent application filed by Verizon that indicates the company is interested in gleaning more information about its viewers for the purpose of delivering more targeted advertisements.

So what might this spy-like technology look like?

Well, as Fierce Cable points out, a couple who is arguing might see an ad for couples therapy on their television or their mobile phone, while a pair who is cuddling could receive an ad for a weekend getaway.

The patent application, which was filed in May of 2011, states that the technology is intended to detect “ambient actions” of its users, including eating, laughing, talking, singing, humming, cleaning, and playing a musical instrument.

The application also outlines plenty of other things viewers may do with others, including fighting, playing a game, and yes, cuddling.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, you’re reading about a potential DVR that spies on you in your own home. You know, because your ridiculously high cable bills aren’t enough money for these arseclowns.

And if that’s not enough, the damn thing will be able to detect people’s skin colour, their accents and see what kinds of “inanimate objects people surround themselves with.”

Lovely.

Finally, a reason for me to be happy that DVRs aren’t accessible to the blind. VCRs don’t seem quite so old and lame right about now.

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11 comments
  1. Yeesh. Verizon covers the DVR angle, Microsoft covers the TV side. Put the two together and colour me crazy glad I don’t have cable. Or a TV with a built-in camera.

    1. Wow. Somehow I missed that one. Cory pretty well summed it up perfectly.

      And you know the first thing somebody’s going to figure out how to do is disable or block the camera.

      1. Just posted this to FB. I have DVR but it’s not Verizon.

        This is really scary. I don’t know about your government but down here I think it’s unconstitutional. If it isn’t, it should be.

        1. See, that’s the thing about that there recording/motion picture industry. They’re none too concerned about things like legality and constitutionality. In fact, you say it’s unconstitutional today, I’ve got $5 says they lobby to change the constitution tomorrow.

        2. I’m not sure about the constitutionality of it, though I’m sure the Privacy Commissioner’s office would have a thing or 7 to say about it were somebody up for trying out such a system. I wouldn’t expect much help from our current government. They’re the same people currently doing everything within their power plus powers we didn’t know they were supposed to have to ram through some pretty horrible things. They nearly got away with spying on our online communications last year.

          1. Uh. Steve? Is now a bad time to point out the US isn’t exactly canceling the Bush era warrantless wiretapping plans–and, in fact, is going full speed ahead? Just sayin’, it’s not really a right wing thing anymore.

      2. Hopefully the second thing they end up doing is suing the crap out of both companies. Yeah, I know, but it’s my reality goddammit.

  2. James, you have a point but, even as nuts as my country has become lately, I don’t think we’d go for overturning the 1st Amendment. Of course I could be underestimating our idiocy.

    1. I’m assuming your country equals the US. And, uh, it already kind of has. Granted, with rather amusing results, but still. The system is there, and it gets quite frequently used/abused. All it takes is the right industry player donating to the right congressman.

  3. It certainly isn’t. I’d never say it was a right vs. left thing. I’m simply commenting on the current style of the folks some of us elected. If it was a right wing thing, the Dems would have undone all the Bush stuff the moment it was legal. In fact, the left is even more in the pocket of the entertainment industry than the Republicans are. The DMCA was Clinton’s baby, don’t forget that.

    1. Eh. I’ll say the same thing about what goes on up here as I said about the SOPA mess. We had this exact fight before. The only difference was the guys doin’ the crying now used to be the guys dropping the shit on our heads. AAAAAAND we’ll probably have this exact same fight next election–regardless which one wins.

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