Tech Companies are Developing TV’s that Watch You

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The new generation of HDTV’s and cable receivers sold to the public contain features that are not very publicized by tech companies: Cameras, mics and sensors that have the ability of recording everything that is happening in the living room. Not unlike the telescreens in George Orwell’s novel 1984, TV’s will soon be able to watch and even thoroughly analyze everyone present in the devices’ vicinity.

The cable company Verizon has recently filed a patent for a system that contain audio and video sensors coupled with facial and profile recognition software. That would allow the company to obtain information such as the number people in the room, their sex, their race, what they are doing and even what they are consuming while watching TV. The goal of such a system is to broadcast “targeted advertising” but crossing the line to outright spying on people is only footstep away. Here’s an article on Verizon’s patent.

 

Verizon Files Patent for Creepy Device To Watch You While You Watch TV

Picture this: You’re having an argument with your partner while watching television, and suddenly an advertisement comes on for marriage counseling. Or maybe you’re doing some weightlifting while a movie plays in the background, and ads for health food pop up on the screen.

In the past, it would have been mere coincidence. But in the future, things look set to change, thanks to Verizon’s “gesture recognition technology.”

The company has filed a patent, published last week, for a system designed to be used in the home to target advertisements at people. Using a combination of image and audio sensors, it would detect actions in your living room while you were watching TV. These sensors, deploying facial and profile recognition, would pick up “physical attributes” like skin color, facial features, and even hair length, and also detect “voice attributes” to help determine the tone of your voice, your accent, and the language you speak. Inanimate objects aren’t off-limits—the technology could also spot beer cans and wall art.

Combined, this would mean that your TV or set-top box would effectively be watching and listening to you while you snuggle up on the couch with your partner to watch the latest episode of Homeland. If the cuddling went a bit further, the chances are the technology would pick up the noises and start playing ads for “a commercial for a contraceptive” or “a commercial for flowers,” as outlined in the patent.

The patent also says if the device picks up that the user is “stressed” then it “may select an advertisement associated with the detected mood (e.g., a commercial for a stress-relief product such as aromatherapy candles, a vacation resort, etc.).” It adds that “If a couple is arguing/fighting with each other” the system “may select an advertisement associated marriage/relationship counseling.” And if the sensors detect that a user is a kid, the system will trigger “more advertisements targeted to and/or appropriate for young children.”

As Steve Donohue at FieceCable has noted, Verizon’s technology would operate in the same way Google targets Gmail users based on the content of their emails—only transposing that principle into the home by “scanning conversations of viewers that are within a ‘detection zone’ near their TV, including telephone conversations.” Of course, this is only a patent, so you don’t have to start eyeing your TV suspiciously—for now. ArsTechnica points out similar patents have been filed before and have yet to be put into practice. But that doesn’t make this latest incarnation any less creepy—and is perhaps an illustration of how surveillance-style technologies are increasingly encroaching on private life.

– Source: Slate

 

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202 Comments on "Tech Companies are Developing TV’s that Watch You"

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Concerned Citizen
3 years 1 month ago

This is nothing new, though disturbing. In the 1990's, a friend who worked in the corporate division of a cable company, said they were already doing this through fiber optics, in association with TV manufacturers. Needless to say, we never signed up for cable.

Bethany
3 years 4 months ago

I'm sorry, but this is ALREADY happening. I have a friend who is a defense attorney who worked on a case in which the suspect's own television was used to monitor and record his conversations and activity inside his home during a drug-trafficking investigation. Our government is waaaay ahead of us. This stuff is already real.

Isabel
1 year 11 months ago
I think explains the headaches from the cable I was going cancel COX cable but ' my boyfriend refused since he pays now not me . I tried to tell him how we are being watched by TV & computer phones etc. Well now I am the crazy one . I covered my little TV in my bedroom and disconnected the wii ..I noticed lot of what I need or said came up in commercials and totally parallel world I am sane and TV is making me sick . I have to watch Spanish soaps and I guess they know… Read more »
Josie
2 years 4 months ago
The other day, I was watching a show called, "Shark Tank". It's a show where inspiring entrepreneurs go to advertise their companies and receive the help of millionaire and billionaire investors. Well the other day, an entrepreneur was presented who spoke about how we are being watched constantly, even by our own government and had created this device to block computer cameras and such. The investors looked shocked from his initial statement, but something about their faces seemed like they knew more than they were letting on. When one of the investors, who works on electronic devices was asked if… Read more »
CLARE
2 years 7 months ago

SWITCH OFF

james
2 years 11 months ago

My friend said to me tvs can watch you. I laft at him but didnt think he was lying. I said yes a tv can watch you if it had a camera. Anyway lastnight I was sorting my channels out ob my ****box flicked to the chat channels and they could see and here everything I was doin. I have a samsung d7000 no camera??? But it must have but I couldn't find it. From the way it seemed my hole screen was a camera. How is this possible? Seriously they could see every thing I did.

ChristieAnn
3 years 27 days ago

I never dreamed of something like this happening NOW. I only thought it would happen like in year 2070 or something. This is so messed up, that they're thinking of this. That's it, I'm not getting a TV. Actually, it would be funny if I stuck out the middle finger at them all of a sudden xD

ChristieAnn
3 years 27 days ago

Or just act like I need a really cheap bookbag. And maybe sit infront of the TV ordering some food.

Rose
3 years 1 month ago

Just wondering whether they can watch us even when tv is shut down ?

Draeconin
3 years 1 month ago
SamV
3 years 3 months ago

This definitely gives the game "I Spy (with my little eye)" a whole new meaning but in this case, television

Anna
3 years 4 months ago

I have no TV and a laptop without webcam

Anonymous
3 years 4 months ago

Oh well, guess there´s nothing to do sit back and take it. After all, who are we to these giant corporate machines running rampant across the land, shaping it according to their every whim? If only there was some way to make our wishes be heard, maybe this needn´t happen… Or are they already listening?

Sorry for the preachy tone, folks. It´s just that all this "Oh noes!" talk fails to acknowledge one simple fact: We asked for this.

orville
3 years 4 months ago

welcome 2 the revolution

Dug
3 years 4 months ago

Virtual insanity

han solo
3 years 4 months ago

“Disconnect power to your TV’s and any media boxes when not in use, and when you specially do not want to be monitored.”

watch out for these:

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/07/22/0335223/the-darpa-funded-power-strip-that-will-hack-your-network

Riddle
3 years 4 months ago
Yeah… if they are going to use these new TVs to 'watch' us for advertisement, it's still not a human watching us… although it may be a form of artificial intelligence, but the TV won't know if it's acting will it…?? We should totally put on play acts and confuse the darn thing, it won't know what to do with itself!! (Within the problem is the solution)… it's like all those sci-fi movies and TV shows where they always confuse the technology by having it coil in on itself 'cause ultimately it is just a machine or a program, not… Read more »
Riddle
3 years 4 months ago
So what do we do if it's 'watching' us?! TURN IT OFF!!! Put a blanket over it.. whatever, don't keep it in your room where you sleep! If it's really like the book '1984' though, they won't allow you to turn it off, it won't ever, doesn't in the book…. and there would probably be no way to not have it in your house… but that's where we don't have '1984' yet! See, we have the power now to not take it…. those elite probably would love to have '1984' in reality, but they can't push it that far, that… Read more »
futurelook
3 years 4 months ago
Please read the original patents for HDTVs – it clearly states that the technology inside is bi-directional! Disconnect power to your TV's and any media boxes when not in use, and when you specially do not want to be monitored. Fully knowing this technology exists in all digital TV sets, always be mindful of this as you watch TV. Has it ever occurred to anyone that with this technology the ads you see on your TV could possibly be very narrowly target just for you? So if your TV sees that you constantly scratch your head, BOOM! ads for your… Read more »
futurelook
3 years 4 months ago

HuLu, A Quantum Leap in Electronic Mind Control & Manipulation
http://educate-yourself.org/cn/otthuluhoops16feb0

KaoTeK
3 years 4 months ago
*claps hands* This is the sort of article that’s helpful and interesting, much better than the symbol stuff. I’m a keen follower of tech(I’m a geek) and this has been coming for a while. what can you do about it? Quite a lot: Don’t use cable services (or a tv at all) this tech will only work if you have a cable connected or internet connected tv. Get your favourite programmes from pirate bay, which has the added advantage of pissing off big media. Use Firefox and install ghostery, no script, adblock and customise Google plug ins so you don’t… Read more »
dog
3 years 4 months ago

Technology is great it makes life more enjoyable. Stressed play a game! But it has reached a point where its plain out creepy. It connects you to the web but it also makes it easier for the goverment to track you. Technology might also be used as a distraction so the more wealthy don’t help the people in the third world (wild guess). They come out with new video games every couple months (enough time for people to get bored and buy a new game).

illuminated genius
3 years 4 months ago
You know this may sound crazy, but i have been noticing a lot of illuminati symbols passing by not just on TV but in many major places. I just saw a performance by Kensha showing a rotating pyramid during the new years party. In Brazil in a channel called Banda International, a subliminal illuminati message with a Pyramid and a globe happened to appear. Any corporations which carry a free mason symbol, or the eye of Rah or a Pyramid tend to make references to the New World Order. 1984 is not just George Orwell nightmare vision but something that… Read more »
Leonian Princess
3 years 4 months ago

Crazy shit.

Scarlet
3 years 4 months ago

Your T.V. watches you :0, I have always thought that the government can watch anyone they choose especially with the newer digital sets!

Spaz Rabid
3 years 5 months ago

This doesn't surprise me one bit!They were probably watching everyone for a long time!This is just a newer version of technology they are letting us in on!They are always ahead of the public on such issues!For those who pratice self abuse,you should have no shame anymore!You should be able to do it in the public eye!They'll just see you on the internet anyway!No,this doesn't surprise me in the least!

Aki
3 years 5 months ago
Well they want to end up somewhere hot with worms coming out of every hole of their body. That's very brave of them. Just think now about yourself, like I and others should be doing and let's work towards the opposite goal. At the end of the day, they can do f*** all. They are not the ones who determine whatever will happen to us when we pass away. The time is limited, we hardly live a few decades, the earthy life is so short, vain and temporary. We can pack nothing with us when we go apart from our… Read more »
hjfenner
3 years 5 months ago

mmm k well.
Lemme blare some polka music while I'm at work and I need a good pic to shove in front of the camera. Any suggestions?

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