CSD Dinner Table Topic – What’s For Dinner? Betcha Verizon Will Know Because Your DVR Is Telling Them
Perhaps you want to go back and check out these posts on CSD before reading the article from PCMag.com below:
So if you thought ole Cool Pappa just had his black suit, tin foil hat and DVD’s of Doomsday Preppers loaded in my BOB, you’re right! I knew this was coming.
If human beings can, they will.
Companies will do whatever they can to maximize profits, if that gain outweighs whatever consumers will just “get over” in two weeks (because you know, we’d rather hear about pregnant royalty in the “Motherland”).
Keep your eye on this story.
If not, don’t worry, because they’ll be keeping an eye on you!
Verizon Patent Covers DVR That Knows What You’re Saying, Doing
Your cable box is listening. And judging. Yes, that set-top box has become self aware and will be listening to your fights, phone calls, and pillow talk in order to serve up targeted ads.
Well, not quite. But it might one day become a reality, according to patent application from Verizon Patent and Licensing, Inc. that was recently made public. It covers a system that displays ads based on the “ambient action of a user.”
As noted by sourcefednews.com, the patent describes a “detection zone” whereby your set-top box (or any media “processing device”) will pick up on “ambient action” and play ads that relate to your activity at commercial breaks.
An ambient action could include eating, exercising, laughing, reading, sleeping, talking, singing, humming, cleaning, and playing a musical instrument. Specifically, the patent cites “cuddling, fighting, participating in a game or sporting event, and talking.” So, if you’re fighting, ads for anger management, and condom ads for times when you’re cuddling?
The patent also notes that ads could be directed to a mobile device.
“Traditional targeted advertising systems and methods fail to account for one or more ambient actions of a user while the user is experiencing media content using a media content access device,” the patent reads. “For example, if a user is watching a television program, a traditional targeted advertising system fails to account for what the user is doing (e.g., eating, interacting with another user, sleeping, etc.) while the user is watching the television program. This limits the effectiveness, personalization, and/or adaptability of the targeted advertising.”
This, of course, could either be terrifying or intriguing. If I’m chatting with someone about possible vacation spots, go ahead and serve up possible hotels and flights. But if I’m on ice cream sandwich No. 3 for the night, will my TV show me Weight Watchers ads? Or Match.com if I’m home on a Saturday night. Ouch.
I can also already hear privacy advocates having a collective seizure. They are already concerned with computer programs that serve up targeted ads based on computer searches and Web activity. A device that listens to your conversations and monitors your activity? Can’t wait for the congressional hearing on that one.
Of course, many patents either go nowhere or take years to implement. Apple, for example, has a patent for “5D” technology. This might all sound very Big Brother in 2012, but who knows what type of technology we’ll have in five or 10 years? The patent holders are likely thinking ahead to what could be – and how it can make some good money on patent licensing deals.
“Verizon has a well-established track record of respecting its customers’ privacy and protecting their personal information. As a company that prizes innovation, Verizon takes pride in its innovators whose work is represented in our patents and patent applications,” a Verizon spokesman said in a statement. “While we do not comment on pending patent applications, such futuristic patent filings by innovators are routine. This is also highly speculative and whatever we might do in the future would be in line with our well-established track record of respecting our customers’ privacy and protecting their personal information.”
Editors’ Note: This story was updated Thursday with comment from Verizon and to clarify that the patent has not officially been granted.
For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.