Once the subject of only the most paranoid of Conspiracy Theorists, their worst nightmares are finally a reality.
It may sound like an old joke from 1980s Comedian Yakov Smirnoff "In Communist Russia people don't watch television, the television watches
" but it is now happening even in the good ole' U.S. of A.
Comcast got caught a while back putting Digital Cameras in Set Top Boxes (most of which are still in the field) without publicly disclosing their
presence. (They did say they were working on the Technology in the "Testing Phase"
Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You?
but these were found in
several Satellite & Cable Set Top Boxes Cable Boxes With Camera Surveillance Systems to Monitor Public
). Even Ron Paul made this practice public on his website.
Since this didn't go over too well in the United States, the Cablecos have gone back to the drawing board to find a better surveillance system that
won't offend the general populace as much.
Enter the Israeli company PrimeSense
Their product lets digital devices see a 3-D view of the world rendered to look like something from thermal imaging. In other words, a cable set-top
box will know whether three people are sitting on the sofa watching TV and how many are adults vs. children. It all happens via a chip that resides in
a camera that plugs into the Set Top Box as opposed to one integrated into the Set Top Box as Comcast did.
This isn't just Future Tech or Vaporware either. It was demoed to Cablecos at the semi-annual
CableLab's Innovation Showcase
informally voted this as the "Best New Product".
Of course, the Cablecos just want to justify their ability to put Americans under surveillance purely for nothing more nefarious than "Advertising
and Ratings". They want to Target individual Advertisements to specific watchers, as well as know when you are going to the fridge or bathroom during
commercial breaks. Considering Ted Turner has stated many times that those who don't watch the commercials are "criminals" and "should be put in
jail for theft", this has a whole new meaning. Besides, we've already seen how cooperative the Telcos are with allowing our government agencies to
spy on American citizens without a warrant or probable cause...I'm sure we can trust the Cablecos to do a better job at ensuring our privacy!
Do we need our Televisions watching us? How many times do we have to cry out and say, "This is *NOT* acceptable, under any
" before the Cablecos get the point? And what prevents them from trying to be more sneaky about it if we put our foot down?
It's bad enough that we have to worry about the Alphabet Soup Government Agencies watching us, now we have to worry about Private and Public
Corporations watching us too?
Where is my tin-foil hat?