This reminds me of a quote from Quadrophenia when they're in the bath:
"Why don't you just f**k off?"
That's exactly what I'd be saying to Intel if they dared put any bloody camera in their set top boxes.
Intel has confirmed it will be selling a set-top box direct to the public later this year, along with a streaming TV service designed to watch you while you're watching it. The device will come from Intel Media, a new group populated with staff nicked from Netflix/Apple/Google and so forth. Subscribers will get live and catch- …
Except that the STB will belong to the cable co, not you.
Intel missed a trick though. They should have framed it as facial recognition to automatically filter content based on rating. So a parent gets kid to sit in front of box and snaps a picture, enters birth-date and all content rated above child's age is filtered if the child is in the room.
Consumers weren't afraid to buy that...
Microsoft's patent on using Kinect to charge for the number of users watching a movie.
Microsoft's plans on using Kinect to look for logos on shirts etc, so they can serve up up even more adverts in the Xbox dashboard.
How about a teeny round mirror right in front of the camera lens so they can watch themselves - or better yet, make the initial setup and ID using photos of someone out of a National Geographic, or a tabloid pic of a celebrity!
Oh, if the thing updates across a cloud, you *could' use someone else's face and possibly end up with their suggestions, no? Endless ways to fuck with it..
The fine article said there is a shutter.
More importantly, you still have Winston Smith's problem... how do you block the audio?
I see lots of 1984 references, with these kind of articles, but noone even sees the problems the book saw. How many people actually read it?
Not sure if this is the one you're thinking of?
MS have a patent on facial recognition stuff with set top [x]boxes identifying who is watching a film so as to charge based on number of viewers etc. Seems a very similar patent to the one that Intel apparently have?
Given how often the facial recognition technology in e.g. Picasa asks me to create a new person when it's spotted a particular configuration of tree branches or light switches or 3-pin socket or shadow on the wall...
Mind you, it wouldn't be too bad for Dr Who, as we all hide behind the sofa when that's on anyway.
Really? You don't think that they'll be listening too?
So, having bought a smart TV with voice activation and the ability to Skype the family when I'm working away you think I'm going to gaffa tape my toys just so Intel can make money?
Forget it. I'll just refuse to use this s*** and if it creeps onto my consumer electronics I see an invasion of privacy prosecution on the horizon.
Possibly Intel could be added to the sex offenders register, because if my young kids can't run around naked in their own living room without being videoed, the world has become a seriously f***** up place.
Apologies, but this kind of thing makes my p*** boil.
If you close the shutter, or otherwise cover the camera, the service will still work as normal, but your name and address will be quietly added to a watchlist of people who have something to hide and therefore something to fear.
Then, the next time you go through an airport or a passing cop looks up your numberplate, you'll find yourself being "randomly selected" for some reason...
You're right about that, Peter! When my company shipped my upgraded laptop to my home office, the first thing I did was tape up the camera lens. I don't think they'd actually spy on me, but you just never know. Is that paranoid? Also, even if my company doesn't film me without my consent/knowledge, who is to say the government doesn't somehow scan for cameras and turn them on to watch us? I just don't trust the government. ESPECIALLY with the Great Pretender in the White House...its increasingly obvious that they see us as a mob that needs controlling.
Yes, I remember that one. "Making out" rather effectively conceals that the couple in question were at it like rabbits... The advertiser was basically saying that if you were relying on these figures, you had to remember that a significant fraction of your audience (at more or less any time of day) would not be paying the slightest attention to the TV, and specifically to the ads. They might use the ads as an opportunity to visit the small room, or to go to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, or to gabble witlessly on the phone while staring at nothing in particular, or, indeed, to hump like rabbits. Whatever they are doing during the ad slots, they *aren't* looking at the ads, and they probably aren't even listening, but the "verified" figures would show that they were.
I also recall a study where some ratings agency or other, possibly Neilsen, installed cameras in the respondents' set-top boxes (with permission, duh) to watch them. They found a disturbing quantity of empty rooms, people doing aerobics (with or without clothes) with their backs to the TV, necking and full-on sex; all in all, there was significantly less watching of the programming and/or ads than reported.
Advertisers would do well to pay attention to these ideas...
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I mean a camera can have its advantages. For example you can video phone or you can have the device lower the volume when you are doozing off, etc.
However you don't want to have to trust a company like Intel to not abuse this power. That's why you want to have open source. Software which is transparent, which you, any everybody else can examine and change. And if _you_ don't like it, you can use an alternative version.
"you, any everybody else can examine"
Right - I'm sure that Joe Average is going to ssh into his set-top box, untar the source, and use grep and vim to dig around through the tens or hundreds of thousands of lines of various libraries and image processing code to make sure nothing untoward is going on while he watches the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with his college buddies.
Open source has its advantages, but it inspires an almost unquantifiable level of disbelief that so many evangelists seem to think that regular people are going to 'examine and change' phenomenally complex software that was engineered by hundreds of people in different companies over many months or years.
On the one hand, techies (perhaps or perhaps not including the OP, out of fairness) roundly criticize Mr. Average for his stupidity in wanting to watch the drivel on TV, and mock him for his inability to handle simple tasks like setting up an email server - while on the other, they whip around 180 degrees and expect Joe to perform the work of several experienced software engineers, on a whim, just in case.
We do not - I repeat, do NOT - live in some kind of wild-eyed utopia where normal people are knocking back a few brewskis, shooting the shit about their exes ("exes", not ".exes", people; buckle your trousers), and combing through source code, valiantly protecting their rights from corporate hegemony. People will not do this. And you, gentle reader - no matter how kick-ass of a sysadmin you are, you're not going to do it either. When was the last time you wrote a new feature into OpenOffice or checked around to make sure its updater isn't siphoning personal information off somewhere? Yeah - half past never, I'll wager.
It's a fantasy - and worse, a fantasy that damages the credibility of anyone advocating it from the perspective of people who live in the actual world.
If you want to convince a normal guy that open source is in his interest, please, for the love of God, stop telling him it's because then he can check the source code on his DVR for privacy violations. All you're doing is convincing him that you're a bunch of paranoid freaks.
Oh, and especially don't do it while you're wearing a huge gnu costume.
that if enough sheep do buy it that it becomes a market standard, every other company jumps on the bandwagon, and then we have no choice left.
Consider for example what has happened with IT: Apple enjoyed such massive success with the iPad and iPhone, and their attendant walled-garden and restrictive ownership conditions, that every other company is now emulating it - even Microsoft has now jumped on the walled-garden bandwagon with Windows 8, and for those of us who want to remain free of this paradigm, our options are fast running out.
Likewise with Facebook and Twitter; I'm seeing an awful lot of companies wanting to see your social networking profiles as a condition of application for employment. If you don't have one, your employment options are becoming increasingly limited.
Please note this is not to have a dig at Apple or Windows 8 or Facebook per se, but merely to illustrate the principle of how a restrictive, controlling paradigm can become the norm if enough people buy into it.
In the end, when someone says "If you don't like it, don't buy it", what happens when it gets to the stage where you need some version of it to function in modern society? These days, you can't get by in any first-world country without the Internet or a mobile phone; you may hate them, but you can't just "not buy one", because you'll find yourself unable to access essential services without it. Your only other option in such a situation is to go and join an Amish community.
This is why we complain about these sorts of trends - because we know from painful experience that if it remains unopposed, eventually we'll be forced into adopting it by the sheer momentum of mass-market takeup.
I don't have a twitter or facebook account and have yet to have it be an issue let alone even be asked about it. I suppose my standard answer would be 'I don't waste my valuable time or energy on such trivialities, I have too much to do.." and let any prospective employer work out that. If they won't hire based on that, then they're idiots and as such, one wouldn't want to work there in the first place.
Choices are always available, just that some are less onerous than others.
(Heck, I don't even have a cell phone - a iPhone, yes, but it's got no phone service.. Go figure)
"If they won't hire based on that, then they're idiots"
I own a small company, and if someone said that to me, he'd be history - not because he doesn't use Facebook or twitter, but because he's self-centered enough to be unable to consider anyone else's point of view, and flat-out stupid enough to insult what is likely a significant percentage of people around him without even being aware of it (or worse, without caring about it).
Even if I could stomach that attitude personally, I don't need someone in my employ who's likely to walk into an important meeting and in complete ignorance issue an embarrassing and insulting broadside to the partner / customer / investor involved.
I used to think that Sheldon Cooper's baldfaced and utterly un-self-aware arrogance was caricature created for effect, but the more I read on the Reg forums, the more I'm convinced they probably have to water it down to make him seem at all plausible.
'He didn't say what the service will be called, but did say that the US isn't ready for entirely à la carte options..."
1. CreeperVision is overwhelmingly appropriate as the name for the new service.
2. The US has been ready for "à la carte options" for decades. It's the providers who can't get their act together.
Intel marketers: "As for our potential customers, a third feel crushed by current level of surveillance economy pwnership and so will just shrug and meekly go along, another third think that allowing a business to surveil their family in their living room is a fair exchange for a more convenient login process, the last third will think they'll be able to circumvent this with a piece of gaffer tape, not stopping to think that we might ever restrict available content based upon what the camera can see. They're in no condition to resist".
Watching you watching your ad quota before we give you "free" content. I remember reading about this idea in one of Stephen Baxter's sci fi books.
I like Wize's idea of putting a photo in front of the camera. If the camera detects the static photo hack, then place a cheap android device in front playing a video of people watching TV. If they introduce twin '3D' cameras like MS Kinect then we might be stuffed, and we might actually have to watch adverts!
Surely what with modern tellyboxes being all slimline these days (not like when I was a lad etc. etc.), surely these "set top boxes" are actually going to be placed on a shelf *under* the telly.
If that's the case, all a camera would see in my house would be a close-up of my dog's backside.
"More controversial is the plan to use a camera on the box to look outward, to identify the faces staring at the goggle box... telescreen-stylie. Intel will use that to present personalised options and targeted advertising, in a process which seems immediately creepy but ...^"
Well, yes, it bloody does ! Am I the only one to think some analisys of behaviour will be done at one point, in order to provide adapted ads ? I don't think this is the number/type of faces they're after ... And surely, the SW will be remotely adapted at whatever is marketable.
And would everyone be really happy to see a porn movie pop out of the screen, with an all-scream lady, when having a good rumpy-pumpy with the Missus ?
I'm not even talking on the said rumpy-pumpy fully sent to porntube ...
Really, who on their right mind, would buy this ???
do you want to watch the prime content with as much as 10% discount!? Terms and conditions apply, such as... keeping the shutter up (and don't try to be funny by placing a picture of a Terminator in front of it. We DO know who you really are!
Do you want to maintain your current level of council tax, instead of paying a "privacy premium" of 500%? Keep the shutter up!
As I suggested in the previous thread about this - the obvious thing to do is not to put tape over the lens, but rather to point it at something else, most likely another screen showing some kind of video. Serving suggestions:
- Pulp Fiction
- Animated patterns specifically designed to screw with image compression and facial recognition algorithms
- Kaptain Kangaroo
- Those videos that extremists take of their hostages
Target your advertising to that, bitch!
Why do they assume persons present when a show is on are WATCHING IT? That's often not the case.
Show of hands: who has sat beside a TV watcher while reading, knitting, or other activity and totally ignoring the TV? Or had a companion nearby ignoring your TV broadcast? Doing a puzzle on the floor? PLAYING WITH THE DOG?
"Human present" does not equal "Viewer", and is a FAIL model to charge by.
Well, part of the point of these things is that with the appropriate image processing you *can* tell where someone is looking - and thus whether someone is really watching.
Creepy it may be, but do you really think they went to all that work without considering the first, most obvious issue?
Personally as long as it is just identifying me and what is the difference between a traditional log-in? My laptop knows who I am via a camera, as does my phone, why not my tv? The only real issue is trust and security, just like any system.
Could have a lot of benefits, like remembering how through the film you were watching when you fell asleep.
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Remember people, 1984 had the government putting the cameras in the homes. It was Max Headroom that had the big corporations putting the cameras in people's homes.
So, put a small, cheap media player in front of the camera. Put something interesting on a loop - like Debbie Does Dallas. Make that Rebus tape interesting!
I am quite happy to be identified by my face... it happens all the time every day. Why shouldn't my TV be able to do it.
Obviously as well as learning what I watch it could read my mood. I have seen software projects that can do this... so when I am 10 mins in to another TopGear on Dave it could speak up and say... "you look board, how about watching The Matrix on Film4?
That would be cool.
So long as it didn't read my post over my shoulder I would be completely fine with this.
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"Grandpa... what's a tele-vision?"
"Ah lad, back in the 20th Century the whole family used to gather round that there device and watch programs. This was before the days of the internet of course. Back then, we had to work down t'pit 23 hours a day...."
Come on, who the hell watches TV these days anyway? Isn't it dead yet?
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I hear about people getting up to all kinds of things on the couch in front of the TV, especially during the commercial breaks. Now there will be multiple web sites based on this technology, where I can watch them at it. Maybe even my neighbours and in real time. I can hardly wait.
Well, it's got to be better than watching the TV programmes. Even if they're just doing a crossword together then that's an intellectual exercise. Up to a point.
It's the implementation and marketing that's poor. You can't just introduce built-in facial recognition as a standard feature and not expect a backlash.
The right way to do it would have been to ship the standard box without the camera, and have an add-on camera available for an extra £10 or so. Target it at families with selling points such as "Get suggestions that *you* want to watch, not your whole family", "Automatically block your kids from seeing adult content." and "Save energy by automatically powering off when you fall asleep in front of the TV"
Before long, you'll have parents wanting you to implement features that stop the TV from working when Little Johnny covers the camera, and casual users loving the extra convenience. When it's mainstream, you can quietly get bought out by Google without anyone batting an eyelid.
"Save energy by automatically powering off when you fall asleep in front of the TV"
Well, Sony's stuff at least does that rather more simply; it checks whether anything out there is moving. Luckily it doesn't need to know your social security number to do it.
Of course, that also means that a restless dog will keep your TV on, should you happen to leave it shortly before the dog's entree to the room - but I suppose you can always tack the electricity charges onto the dog's rent. Or dock him a biscuit, or something.
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