Excerpted from NewTeeVee:
If you have some tinfoil handy, now might be a good time to fashion a hat. At the Digital Living Room conference today, Gerard Kunkel, Comcast’s senior VP of user experience, told me the cable company is experimenting with different camera technologies built into devices so it can know who’s in your living room.
The idea being that if you turn on your cable box, it recognizes you and pulls up shows already in your profile or makes recommendations. If parents are watching TV with their children, for example, parental controls could appear to block certain content from appearing on the screen. Kunkel also said this type of monitoring is the “holy grail” because it could help serve up specifically tailored ads. Yikes.
Kunkel said the system wouldn’t be based on facial recognition, so there wouldn’t be a picture of you on file (we hope). Instead, it would distinguish between different members of your household by recognizing body forms. He stressed that the system is still in the experimental phase, that there hasn’t been consumer testing, and that any rollout “must add value” to the viewing experience beyond serving ads.
Wow. That’s just plain creepy. If you follow the link, Comcast made a statement in response, then the reporter responded back. It sounds like Comcast is trying to get away with something. Either way, I don’t trust this at all. Even the thought that the cable company might have the ability to spy on me in my own home, or would even think about spying on me in my own home, is cause for great concern.
Why on earth would they think this is a good idea, when they could just equip the remote with multiple user buttons, if they want to customize the viewing experience and advertising? How does the user know that they’re not selling information about our private lives? How do we know that they aren’t ratting people out to the government?
Long story short, we don’t know. And therein lies the problem.
Hat tip The Dee Zone