In Microsoft Patent App, TV Watches You

from the we're-watching-you... dept

theodp writes "In a just-published patent application for delivering Advertising that is relevant to a person, nine Microsoft inventors spell out plans for using cameras, remote controls and biometric sensors to detect the identity of the person viewing a TV, cellphone, or computer monitor display. This knowledge, coupled with previously collected info about the person’s interests and hobbies, sex, age, locale, profession, subscriptions and memberships, ethnicity, marital status, parental status, pet ownership, and height as well as additional info gleaned from his or her address book, calendar, mail, IMs, to-do lists, notes, purchasing history, historical record of reactions to ads, search history, and media consumption history will then be used to allow advertisers to deliver highly-targeted ads." Of course, this is just an application, rather than a granted patent, but it’s hardly a unique idea. People have been discussing such things for years — it’s just that most people recognize it would seriously creep people out if it were ever put in place. Unless, of course, the company gives you $5/month and suddenly the creepy factor subsides.

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49 Comments
Sanguine Dream says:

In this day and age...

Companies are shouting left and right that the likes of youtube and google are making money off of them without paying them. Does this mean that if Microsft were get this patent and somehow try to create a device(s) that would implement the gathering of said info does this mean that Microsoft (and any comapany that would have access to the collected data) should pay the people that all that data is collected from?

Imagine this: Microsoft gets the patent and comes up with a way to collect said data. Someone makes a spoof video (like comparing the system of data collection to 1984, the Matrix or whatever) and puts it on youtube. Who pays who?

Asmodeus says:

Re: still creepy

Because we are letting it. People seem to want to forget that it is We the People who vote these moron politicians in, We the People who vote on local laws, We the People who don’t stick our boot colon deep into someone’s ass when there’s something happening that we don’t like.

I could also say that it’s We the People who allow ourselves to be locked away in an almost police state because we’ve been effectively turned into sheep needing a shepherd who can provide us with the necessities of life… you know, reality TV, SUV’s and fast food.

All sarcasm aside, here’s a fun thought :
What would happen if a majority of voters in the next big (or even local) election decided that they had had enough of the bullshit and WROTE IN THEIR VOTE. My recommendation is for Mickey Mouse for president and Goofy for VP. I know, it won’t be much of a change ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seriously though, it would send a VERY strong message that things are not ok anymore.

My 2 cents,
Asmodeus

Artiken says:

Re: Re: still creepy

Stupid idea. Mickey Mouse may pass the age requirement. But he doesn’t pass the other requirements.

Either write in NONE OF THE ABOVE or write in a real persons name. hint:Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t count either. Not a native citizen. Charles Manson won’t work. No one with a felony can be president.

I personally write in Rosie O’Donnell. (Yes I am fully aware that she is a liberal lesbian single mother. She might even smoke pot and drink alcohol. Doesn’t really matter. She tells you exactly how she feels weather you are going to like it or not. [probably why she lost her tv-show]) I realize that Mickey Mouse probably gets more votes. But she has a slightly better, chance of actually getting elected. ha ha ha. Only because she is eligible for election. Heaven forbid she should actually get elected.

Think of the message your are trying to say.

You put Mickey Mouse. Your saying, “I don’t like any of the offered choices. I’m so stupid I cannot recommend a decent replacement.”

You put down Rosie O’Donnell. Your saying, “I don’t like any of the offered choices. In fact I even think this person is better than what you offered.” Think of what an insult that will be to the conservatives. Your also telling the liberals that they aren’t liberal enough.

So if your gonna throw your vote away. You might as well do it in a way that has a chance of making a message that might be heard. Slim chance. But better than zero.

Next time a vote telemarketer calls. Listen to their pitch. Then say, “I’m voting for Rosie O’Donnell. She has better ethics(morals) that what your offering. Until you can give me someone I can vote for, piss off and don’t call me. Have a nice day.”

It used to be the lesser of two evils.
Now they are offering us the same evil with different buttons(logos).
Sorry Not Gonna Cut It With This Sheep.

Overcast says:

I don’t want targeted ads…

Sometimes, an ad for a new product I’ve never bought can tempt me to buy it. I’m primarily a video gamer, but I play Tennis on occasion too.

But lately, I’m becoming more interested in Golf.

My interests could change again. Don’t presume my interests are so narrow that ‘targeted’ ads will work.

And yes – corporations and government – the more control they get, the more they want. Check out http://www.prisonplanet.com, some interesting theory there..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

the nice thing about targeted adds is that you can change what they are you want tennis then search for it and you will get it.

but it whould be cool if you could have an online profile to go wit the id screens that lets you change what you want in the adds. like a list of checkable items sortof like the spam options you get when signing up for an mail address. this whould allow you to easaly change you add to sute your intrests and also allow sume parental control so children dont see adds that you feel are inappropriate

Sean says:

Re: The US has already done it...

“Unite the people behind the “war effort”. Ummm, you are at war. 1984?”

Most Americans are against the “invasion” IIRC we never actually declaired WAR that is just what Bush is calling it. It should be called Rapeing forign countries.

No I have not read the Patriot Act recently. Have you read the book 1984?

Artiken says:

Re: Ads?

You missed the articles main point, as did most of the replies.

“This knowledge, coupled with previously collected info about the person’s interests and hobbies, sex, age, locale, profession, subscriptions and memberships, ethnicity, marital status, parental status, pet ownership, and height as well as additional info gleaned from his or her address book, calendar, mail, IMs, to-do lists, notes, purchasing history, historical record of reactions to ads, search history, and media consumption history”

Previous collected info….

If you used M$ update lately M$ is already recording what programs you are running. WGA got installed and that is one of the things it does. Any program that runs for more than 5 minutes phones M$. Even sol.exe. I checked. I wrote a time waster with a non-M$ compiler. I didn’t use any M$ libraries. My simple ‘print to screen and waste time’ program phone M$.

If you listen to WMAs then the codec contacts M$ to ask for permission. (Asks for license permission.)

If you use Windows Media Player then it tells M$ everything you listen to or watch. (You get to see the album cover.)

I haven’t studied the packets sent/received by IE6 or 7. Because I fire walled them off the internet. And I don’t use them.

But if you have IPv6 enabled it does report to M$. (My Linux box doesn’t need to report to TOREDO to convert from IPv6 to IPv4.)

The ads don’t need you to click on them. The web page that sent them to you either creates a cookie that records you have seen the advert or records on their server that it sent you the advert. I don’t know about the M$ sites so I can’t tell you how they put up relevant adverts. I do know about Google-Ads. What Google-Ads does is scan the web page and gathers keywords from the web page content. Then when a web client connects to the web page Google sends you the kind of adverts that most fit the page. The adverts are close to what you might be interested in. Imagine how ‘targeted’ the adverts will become if the browser and the rest of the OS reports back to M$ with the kind of stuff you regularly do with your computer. OH! SHIT! The OS is already doing that.

Oh. Didn’t you know this?
The way I found out was by using a packet sniffer(EitherReal or Wireshark), good firewall like Sygate5.5(before Symantec bought it). It took some work. But it doesn’t take that many brain cells to figure out every web page you access, the browser tries to contact TOREDO.microsoft.com. Even with Firefox. So I am not blowing smoke. I know!

What ever you do, especially since you don’t like anyone monitoring your web activity, don’t get VISTA. In the EULA you agree that M$ can monitor your activity, check to see the software you run is legally licensed (if not they will notify the owners), disable software they deem is illegal or ‘unsafe’ (unsafe for you? unsafe for the OS? unsafe for M$? OpenOffice? Mozilla? P2P?), M$ can at their option upgrade the OS and software, revoke software licenses,….

Short answer. Spy on you. Record your every move. Tell you what you can do with your computer.

Now add this patented device. M$ can record more information about you. PLUS you will get targeted TV adverts.

That is what the article said.

I don’t know where some of the posters got the idea that M$ will pay you $5 per month. M$ might just to get you hooked. Remember the famous quote from Bill Gates? “We wouldn’t be in the position we are today if it weren’t for all of the pirated copies of Win3.1.”

Hey Want some crystal meth?
Free for a week,
all you can use,
provided you sign a lifetime contract to only buy from me.

(Ok I know it will only be a 6 month contract. But you don’t.)

Don’t worry about the price for the first week.

(The $1000 a hit from the following weeks will more than make up for the money I lost the first week. It is that your hooked and can only get it from me that is important.)

Hey mind if I mix in an ingredient or two that will make you violently ill if you get near the competitions stuff? I want Interoperability.

(As long as you inter operate with just my stuff. I want you to be able to mix my stuff with my stuff. But if you mix someone else’s stuff with my stuff, I want it to be as painful as possible. Don’t want to kill you. That would be bad for business. Plus it would be illegal. I just want to make it painful as legally possible.)

I could go on. But I think you get the idea.

BTW if you run VISTA you agreed that you won’t reverse engineer or use a packet sniffer. Gee I thought that a packet sniffer was supposed to be used to diagnose communication problems. Can’t run one if your using VISTA. I wonder why?

For anyone out there that might not understand what I’m trying to say. I don’t sell drugs. So, NO you cannot buy any from me. I don’t do illegal drugs. I don’t have any illegal drugs. I don’t hang out with people that do illegal drugs. You should go out and buy VISTA and the M$ Media Center Flat Panel TV with included web cam and microphone. Enjoy your M$ truly Multi-Media experience. It is just like being in the theater. $6.00 popcorn and only $9.00 per movie, unless you let us cover 1/3 of the screen with advertisements we are sure you will be interested in. Then it will only be $6.00 for the popcorn and $35.00 per month.

(What does Media Flix, Blockbuster, Charter allpass charge per month? But M$ is offering such a deal. lol Yea a deal if your plugged into the M$ distrobution channel. Because you won’t even know about MF, BB, or CAP. M$ blocks those adverts from your tv and computer.)

Border says:

Flat out

Invasion of Privacy. If they gave the consumer the choice on whether or not to have this “Targeted ad” anyone who is the least bit savy would decline.
I also agree with OVercast up there, there is no target for me because I like to try new things. I do game, but I also play softball, I surf and coach baseball. I do so many different things that I would never have any peace because they would be throwing ads at me constantly.

Silver Lining (user link) says:

Silver Lining

What a great way to prevent anyone else from using an idea.
Think of the worst possible way to invade a persons life and patent it. Think of is a digital Peeping Tom protection patent. Of course with Microsoft this means some company has already completed the system but just failed to appply for patent. Come to think of it what does Windows Live ID really do?

Ron (profile) says:

Understatement?

“… it would seriously creep people out …” has got to be a serious understatement. It would mean that, not only would we have provided some sort of license to be spied upon (maybe just by purchasing the TV … could be a REALLY interesting EULA … “… any videos captured may be used, without further compensation, in the upcoming release “Naughty Bits in Front of the American TV Spy Set …”) or maybe we would have to sign a form before we could have it plugged in. On the other hand, maybe just a bit of masking tape over a couple of appropriate openings on the front of the set would fix everything.
My aunt never connected her computer because she was sure that people on the Internet could see her. That was 7 years ago. Maybe she is a visionary.

Stephen Goodfellow says:

No one will want this

The irony of paying people to feed them advertising is that only people low on cash are going to bother with it. If they’re low on cash…how exactly are you going to sell them anything?

Targeted ads are a good idea, but invading peoples privacy in this manner is only going to get backs up. The more people feel their privacy is being infringed the bigger the backlash the advertisers will eventually face.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

But hey, I’m not a terrorist so I don’t care if they listen to me.

You don’t have to be. A few selected, out-of-context quotes inserted in your FBI file can make you look like one anyway. For example, let me quote part of you wrote above out of context and it becomes:

“It is…illegal…But hey, I’m…a terrorist so I don’t care…”.

Now, some of those words were taken completely out of context. But still, if that gets circulated around in law enforcement circles you could start having a tough time and have no idea why. And once it’s in your file it’s in there for life.

fuse5k says:

is it so bad?

Is it so bad, really.

I dont know about $5 a month, but if they paid me 100 then served up ads that i would actually like, for products and services i might actually use then i might stop hating ads quite so much.

good example would be the magners cider adverts in the UK
this product literally went from nowhere to #1 in the UK simply because of the adverts.

if every advert was targeted to the viewer, then the advertising would be far more effective, and hence would cost more for the company advertising the product, and if the person is getting paid for it then they will be happy to shell out a few of these extra bucks a month on some of the products they see.

i really dont see what everyone is moaning about.

ikey Benney, On In Microsoft Patent App, TV Watche (user link) says:

In Microsoft Patent App, TV Watches You

Hello:

I am not sure if this news item is for real or some kind of a joke?

==========

Theodp writes: “In a just-published patent application for delivering Advertising that is relevant to a person, nine Microsoft inventors spell out plans for using cameras, remote controls and biometric sensors to detect the identity of the person viewing a TV, cellphone, or computer monitor display. This knowledge, coupled with previously collected info about the person’s interests and hobbies, sex, age, locale, profession, subscriptions and memberships, ethnicity, marital status, parental status, pet ownership, and height as well as additional info gleaned from his or her address book, calendar, mail, IMs, to-do lists, notes, purchasing history, historical record of reactions to ads, search history, and media consumption history will then be used to allow advertisers to deliver highly-targeted ads.”

=========

If it is for real and such a patent is granted and such a technology is developed, it would flagrantly violate every privacy and civil rights in America and the whole world.

Hopefully, they would push ahead with it and actually develop and market the technology and therefore incur the wrath of the whole of America and the world, thereby opening the door very wide for a possible worldwide class action lawsuit which will bankrupt them.

It appears they have made so much money ($276 billion dollars) and have nothing better to do anymore but to create rancid technology that is so obscene it is virtually unimaginable.

Despite all the terrible computer products which this company had created and its acrimonious relationships with other companies and the hatred from millions of people all over the world for the suffering they go through by using these awful products and extremely poor customer service, it now wants to top it all by creating a awfully reprehensible technology that would engender worldwide eternal hatred for them.

This company just don’t get it.

Ikey Benney

Artiken says:

Re: In Microsoft Patent App, TV Watches You

I agree with you 100%.

If you ask to be violated it is no longer a violation. I think that “paying for the device” and “subscribing to” and “agreeing to the EULA” would eliminate any illegality.

Imagine how targeted the adverts would be if M$ bought the Safeway ClubCard database. Every purchase you make at Safeway using it is recorded. I believe, don’t know for sure , but Fred Myers does the same thing. Add that to your browser activity, credit card history, tax return, etc. And now Video feed from your TV. They will know for sure you fall asleep listening to NBCNews, but stay awake for FoxNews. (yea I know MSNBC is M$) They really don’t need your pupilary responses. They just need to monitor motion. To know if your interested and paying attention. Ever seen the PS2 EyeToy? Window Washer. Bounce Ball. BaseBall. Cool stuff. M$ will be able to put Nielson Ratings System to shame. Not only will they be able to tell what programs you watch, but they will be able to see which commercials you pay attention to. Next thing you know all commercials will be just…Hold on a second. I’m thinking this might actually be a good thing(tm). No more boring commercials. Only commercials for things I like in a format I like. (snap out of it artiken) You think they will ever show me any IBM, Linux, Google, or any that aren’t a certified M$ advertiser? What if they get the idea that I like Tampoon commercials? (Data entry mistakes never happen. Right?)

Wow They sure know lots about me. Good thing I paid cash for the U238 I bought. Darn it! I paid for the Titanium casings with my Visa. Damn. They will never be able to catch me. I got a plane ticket to Mexico. Damn. Damn. I used my Discover Card.

From some of the previous posts you can plainly see.
Yes us Americans are *that* stupid.

I wonder if people knew what M$ does to them now, if they would be upset. Most people I tell don’t seem to care. They have the attitude that they don’t care, cause they don’t have anything to hide. “They never do anything illegal.” I’m just being paranoid or a zealot. They like being blissfully ignorant. The few that I show, they don’t really understand all the gobbldygook on the screen, get pretty upset. These are the ones that have been using the same computer for 5 years without any large troubles. Then one day I get a “hey my computer is doing funny things” call. I take one look and see they went to WinUpdate. I remove the update. Strip out WGA. Computer works fine again. “Gee M$ wouldn’t make your computer flaky just so you will buy the next version? Would they?” Oh yea. I usually manage to calm them down.

Manic or Megalomaniac people never see themselves as causing harm to others. They think what they do is nothing but good. So I am afraid that M$ will never ‘get it’. Until they go bankrupt or to jail. Then they will blame the consumer. They will still wonder ‘wha happen?’.

“who is it?”
Hold on a second I have someone at the door.
“What? Terroist? NO! I have a gopher problem. Honest.”
“Hey what are you doing with those handcuffs?”
“hang on a second. I need to click the submit button.”

Overcast says:

Overcast is a dingbat. They are trying to prevent showing lingerie ads to you, not stopping you from playing tennis. Unless ofcourse you like to hear about tampons. Nitwit.

Who’s to say what I might or might not buy? Who’s to say I won’t relay information on a product to my wife?

I didn’t say anything about stopping me from doing a thing, but I don’t necessarily buy the same thing all the time – and if I do – why send me advertisements on it?

I don’t really care for any advertisements to be quite honest, and I ignore 98% of them. My purchasing decisions are very infrequently based on an ad. Although – an ad can let me know which new products may be available. What I was saying about the Tennis hypothetical – is just because I’m interested in one type of goods – doesn’t mean I may not be willing to purchase another type of goods.

I buy computer software – does that mean they shouldn’t put exercise equipment ads on TV for me too? That’s stupid. The *idea* of advertising is to bring in NEW customers. Why target ads to people that already buy your goods?

In any event, I don’t want a damn camera in my house, unless it’s one I own and operate. It may be useful at that point to give me an advertisement for some electrical tape that I can slap on the front of the CCD camera.

I guess soon it will get to the point that they TELL me what to buy, eh?

‘Yeah Right!’ I’m sure you say – and 20 years ago, people would laugh at you if you said a company would be getting a patent on a camera in your cable box that watches you!

Overcast says:

Overcast is a dingbat. They are trying to prevent showing lingerie ads to you, not stopping you from playing tennis. Unless ofcourse you like to hear about tampons. Nitwit.

And and by the way – I do buy lingerie for my wife sometimes – but in the ‘targeted’ advertisement world – they wouldn’t show me ads on that right? But yes – she buys her own tampons, lol

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