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”).

Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP

Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP

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.


XBox Kinect and Privacy


Christmas has come and gone and I find myself with the latest and greatest in technology: The Xbox Kinect. My kids have wanted one for a while and I wasn’t too keen on having a camera in the house but didn’t look into it much since our house was too small. Well, now the living room is big enough and while the gift cards were being cashed in on the ultimate spy camera, below is what I found online by others that shared my concern.

If anyone here has it, I’d like to know what you think. I’m not saying that Big Brother is watching yet, but I know that the goal is always to collect more data than you need today, because you or someone else will need it in the future for the right price.

Check out some of the links below if you’re not up on the spy cam urrrr….technology.

“In my view, the privacy debate is not new. Kinect is, and it is a perfect opportunity to discuss what our privacy boundaries are as it offers unique capabilities that other devices in our house do not offer. For those afraid of Kinect and it’s privacy invasion capabilities, I’ve got the following advice: the best solution would be to never ever buy it. Another way of surely preventing people from outside of your living room picking up on things you do in your living room (and a little less restrictive) via Kinect, may be to disconnect your Xbox 360 from the Internet when you play with Kinect so it cannot send out the pictures.”

http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/15/micr … ht-tailor/
“Microsoft’s Dennis Durkin voiced an interesting idea at an investment summit last week — the idea that the company’s Kinect camera might pass data to advertisers about the way you look, play and speak. “We can cater what content gets presented to you based on who you are,” he told investors, suggesting that the Kinect offered business opportunities that weren’t possible “in a controller-based world.”

http://internetsafety.trendmicro.com/yo … box-kinect
“While the games are fairly intuitive while in play, we did not find navigating the settings and menu options as easy. After some guessing and fumbling with how to scroll through the menu items (there is no search capability to quickly find privacy settings, e.g.), we finally found the privacy settings and discovered that the default was for the videos and images to be shared on Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online gaming service that allows you to play games against other members in its online community. So we immediately set up blocking on all of it. The games still continue to capture the images of you playing the game, but in our case, it isn’t being shared anywhere.”

http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/14/more-k … eo-effect/

In fairness, here’s Xbox’s FAQ on the issue: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/kinect/privacyandonlinesafety

http://kotaku.com/5681521/microsoft-say … ur-privacy

http://www.geekwire.com/2011/microsoft- … l-controls
“That’s the idea floated by Microsoft in a patent filing made public this week, proposing to use a 3D depth camera (such as the one in its Kinect sensor for Xbox 360) to digitally measure the proportions of a person’s body and estimate age based on the data, such as head width to shoulder width, and torso length to overall height. The system could then automatically restrict access to television shows, movies and video games accordingly, using ratings for each type of content.”

That’s all for now!