House members introduce bill to stop TV devices from monitoring consumers at home

Reps. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) filed legislation that would regulate a new technology that targets TV ads to people by observing their activities and conversations while they watch TV via their set-top boxes and DVRs.

Verizon, Intel and other tech companies have developed technology that utilizes infrared cameras and microphones built into cable boxes and DVRs to serve up targeted TV ads to people based on their conversations and activities while watching TV.

Verizon had filed a patent application last year for a technology that would allow a set-top box to recognize when people are eating, cleaning, reading, laughing and doing other activities while watching TV and serve relevant ads to them according to that behavior. The application was rejected this past December.

In a statement, the two lawmakers said they want to get out ahead of the release of this new technology and pass legislation that ensures it would include beefed up privacy protections for consumers. They added that this legislation is particularly relevant given the recent revelations about the National Security Agency's Internet surveillance programs.

The story is too old to be commented.
Qrphe3575d ago

And watch it not pass because other House members will oppose it (or more like their donors).

zeal0us3575d ago

Verizon, Intel, Microsoft and other companies will be lobbying house members.

KillrateOmega3575d ago


God forbid that they can't spy and gather data on us, so that their ads can be as accurate as possible :P

Letros3575d ago (Edited 3575d ago )


You're thinking of Google!

ChozenWoan3575d ago

Nice to see the house doing something positive for the people for a change... then again I think it's because they know these companies would likely spy on them as well. Not to mention how hard it would be to keep corporate secrets when every Tv (or console) is spying on you and your family members. And lets not think of how bad it could get if hackers got into the system.

longcat3575d ago

New DLC - Special interest lobby (US edition)

longcat3575d ago (Edited 3575d ago )

if i jerk off outdoors ....they arrest me

If i jerk off at home...they want to see

Make up your mind're sending mixed messages

stuna13575d ago


Their only doing this because of the blackeye they recieved because of the NSA leak! Do people believe that this would be the case if the leak never happened? Of course not.

HammadTheBeast3575d ago


Major difference between seeing what I'm actually doing and what I search up.

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 3575d ago
FrigidDARKNESS3575d ago

Yelp, this is the do nothing congress. This bill sit in congress forever then it will be forgotten.

cheetorb3575d ago

Funny, that's kind of how I see the Xbone working out.

rainslacker3575d ago

Guess at least someone is trying to do something productive in Congress. Hooray?

sway_z3575d ago

Hmmm see how it goes....hopefully common sense prevails!

Godmars2903575d ago (Edited 3575d ago )

So basically a company like Verizon feel that they have the right to watch you when you're not watching cable? Cause I can't see people reading while watching TV.

If it does manage to pass MS will certainly be pissed.


Mystogan3575d ago

I don't see what Microsoft has to do with this. Nobody actually knows if they gather data from Kinect or not. That is something tinfoils and PS fanboys came up with.

I can make up something about PSeye too, that doesn't make it true.

Godmars2903575d ago (Edited 3575d ago )

Kinect is literally designed to observe people who use it. To recognize them.

MS also was one of the first companies to sign onto the NSA's PRISM snooping program.

Looking at thing as they are concerning the NSA, that most if not all of US Intelligence has been privatized, intelligence has become a new frontier for capitalism.

Things are likely to get worse before they get better. If they get better.

TheUndertaker853575d ago

"Keep your finger on the pulse.
Xbox One lets you discover what TV shows and
movies are popular among your friends and tells you
what is trending within the Xbox community. It’s a
great way to stay on top of what is happening now."

"Be recognized.
Xbox One gets to know you. It learns what you like
and what you don’t. And brings it all together on
your own personal home screen. And because every
Xbox One comes with Kinect, it responds naturally to
your voice, movements, and gestures. Say goodbye
to the days of one-size-fits-all entertainment."

And here's the kicker.

"Speech Data, Photos and Videos. Kinect can record speech data, photos and videos but you can control whether such data is collected using Xbox 360 Family Settings. Examples include:
Speech commands. Speech commands allow you to verbally control a Kinect experience. We only collect and store speech commands if you give us permission to do so.
Photographs that are taken of you during game play. They are initially stored on your console, or another location provided by a game publisher, and you decide whether to share them with others."

So yes, yes we do know and if you even checked Microsofts official pages, they admit to it.

Eddie201013575d ago

Why in the world can't you use your Xbox One without it and why can't it be turned off when your not playing a game that does not use Kinnect or you don't want to use Kinnect.

It has to be connected and on whenever you use the Xbox One which when plugged in is on all the time.

Why Microsoft? Is there a good explanation?

rainslacker3575d ago

Except MS said in their reveal they were going to do exactly what this bill aims to prevent.

hazelamy3575d ago

this is ms, they have a history of collecting information from their users without informing them.

i'd trust them about as far as i can throw their Redmond HQ.

ShwankyShpanky3574d ago (Edited 3574d ago )

"Nobody actually knows if they gather data from Kinect or not. That is something tinfoils and PS fanboys came up with."

Right... "tinfoils and PS fanboys" that can read an EULA. The CURRENT EULA for the 360 w/ Kinect ADMITS that they gather data from Kinect.

"If you use ... Kinect, we may also collect data about the way in which you interact with the console and the Services to improve Microsoft products and services."

...and this:

"Personal information collected by Microsoft may be stored and processed in the United States or any other country or region in which Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries, or service providers maintain facilities. You consent to any such transfer of information outside of your country or region."

...and of course:

"we may access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the Services; and (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public."

All of these terms subject to the interpretation of MS/govt lawyers. And with the "always on," this can be easily abused. "Oh, we thought you might be doing something against our EULA, so we checked to see if there was any audio or video from the Kinect that was related to that." "Oh, the Feds saw you buying supplies for your indoor veggie garden at the hydroponics store, so they 'lawfully requested' that we check if there was any audio or video related to that."

Kansas Couple: Indoor Gardening Prompted Pot Raid

The FBI Seeks Overbroad Expansion of Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

P.P.S. Unfortunately, I doubt this bill will actually make it through, but this part is great:

"Additionally, the bill requires a cable box or set-top device to notify consumers when the monitoring technology is activated and in use by posting the phrase "We are watching you" across their TV screens."

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 3574d ago
Foxgod3575d ago (Edited 3575d ago )

I wouldnt mind if this bill makes it, it would at least put some public fears to rest.
Hoever that thumbnail is lame, and reeks of fanboyism.

Godmars2903575d ago

Given that MS was/is ready to hand out achievement points for watching commercials, have been talking about Kinect as a marketing research sensor since Kinect was called Natal, where do you think those fears come from?

NihonjinChick3575d ago (Edited 3575d ago )

I don't get how the thumbnail reeks of "fanboyism". Isn't it called being a fanboy when you follow a company no matter what/blindly. All this thumbnail show is that he doesn't like MS. It doesn't show if he blindly follows another company.

The term fanboy is thrown around too much by everyone.

Tyre3575d ago (Edited 3575d ago )

The one mentioning the fanboism reeks of fanboism himself(Foxgod).

M-M3575d ago

I hope you get banned from N4G.

wenaldy3575d ago

I swear if there is bubble down option for "Idiot".....

jmc88883575d ago

No it would make the xbox one unsellable. They'd have to take them off the market until those features are gone.

At the very least they'd grandfather the consoles on the shelves and just not allow Microsoft to ship any more.

This is a big black swan that could smack MS hard.

But even that would cause huge damage as it might take a long time to redo the console.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 3575d ago

hear that guys? government bodies actually ARENT aiming to be able to watch our every move!

riiiiiiiiiiiiiight....why do i have the feeling this bill wont make it too far out of the gate?

dcbronco3575d ago

Come on, you know the way they work is to pass the bill and then quietly gut a few months later. Gotta get people to at least think you work for them.


exactly. this problem reaches so far beyond video games its even hard to imagine. people just need to wake the hell up.

Godmars2903575d ago

Even if it does pass it would become bad news for MS after the fact of the XBO's release.

Mystogan3575d ago

Why would it be bad news? This is about gathering data, you don't know if Kinect gathers data for MS or not.

Godmars2903575d ago


As I've noted in another post, MS wants to offer achievement points for watching commercials. have been offering Kinect as a research marketing tool since it was Natal. While its not going to "always" be used or on, when you are using it, Kinect will be gathering information on you.

That MS will be offering the option to op into or out of such programs, is only going to fuel the paranoia that they'll be able to flip a switch and do it anyway.

dcbronco3574d ago

Yeah it would definitely change the way MS will have to do some things. But the reality is those things will be op in on the Xbox as apposed to your cable company currently doing it and most had no idea they were. That DVR is not your Fathers cable box.

But way to go Godmars and turn into an fanboys vision of the true nature of the issue instead of looking at it for what it really is. This is another way the government pimps it's people and keeps them stupid. Get the focus on DVR and corporations trying to sell you something instead of looking at the NSA and their psychological profiles and what they can do with those.

A government with a psychological profile and the right to disappear anyone they want to is far more dangerous then a company that wants to sell you another product. Stop going for simple slight of hand tricks Godmars. Console wars are imaginary and you don't actually win anything even if "your" side wins. Focus grasshopper.

Godmars2903574d ago


What are you even talking about?

Literally, can't tell if your trying to admonish me for fanboyism, or going for the "slippery slope" approach which will leave the government a bad door to spy and gather info on when the truth is MS wants that info first. If only to pester people with tailored ads.

Also, if this bill manages to pass, there would be no option to "op into" anything. MS just wouldn't be allowed to do it.

dcbronco3574d ago

First of all the government doesn't do slippery slope they only do sliding boards. They do what they want regardless of the law. And it's because the American people live in a fantasy world where they think they count when in reality most are clueless about what is going on. They focus on silly --it like Kinect when the government has been collecting your information long before Kinect was invented. And why use Kinect when they have a ton of other things to use.

Kinect will be in less than a 100 million homes, there are two and a half billion active smartphones. Which would you choose. And that phone gives them everything you are so scared of Kinect for. Audio, Video, location, and what you do and who you talk with. It tells them who your associates because they see where the GPS units are. Your phone is ten times worse than anything Kinect could do because it goes where you go.

Your cable company has been collecting data for years. Your grocery discount card. Your credit card. But people go on and on about Kinect. At least MS will try to protect you. Who will protect that phone? A government with the right to disappear people and gather unlimited information is far worse than MS selling you something. And MS won't force you to do anything. They can't make you watch commercials. Your DVR and cable box is already doing everything they are planning to do. It knows you fast forward through commercials.

And if you think this bill will make a difference you are kidding yourself. Even if it was to pass, it would be repealed quietly a few months later. Or oversight would never receive funding. The US government works for large corporations not the people.

I don't know if you know who Willie Lynch is. But his game has been pulled on people for centuries. And the American people are the biggest victims of his game. And they don't even know it. They concentrate on things like Kinect when all of their fears have been realized long before. If Kinect was to go away, you'd think you had done a great job. But all of your fears would still be taking place. And as long as people are stupid enough to let the group do their thinking that will always be the case.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 3574d ago
Show all comments (59)
The story is too old to be commented.