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Big Brother alert: Cameras in the cable box to monitor TV viewers
Question of the Day
It hardly gets more Orwellian than this. New technology would allow cable companies to peer directly into television watchers' homes and monitor viewing habits and reactions to product advertisements.
The technology would come via the cable box, and at least one lawmaker on Capitol Hill is standing in opposition.
Mass. Democratic Rep. Michael Capuano has introduced a bill, the We Are Watching You Act, to prohibit the technology on boxes and collection of information absent consumer permission. The bill would also require companies that do use the data to show "we are watching you" messages on the screen and to explain just what kinds of information is being captured and for what reasons, AdWeek reported.
The technology includes cameras and microphones that are installed on DVRs or cable boxes and analyzes viewers' responses, behaviors and statements to various ads — and then provides advertisements that are targeted to the particular household.
Specifically, the technology can monitor sleeping, eating, exercising, reading and more, AdWeek reported.
"This may sound preposterous, but it's neither a joke nor an exaggeration," said Mr. Capuano in a statement, AdWeek reported. "These DVRs would essentially observe consumers as they watch television as a way to super-target ads. It is an incredible invasion of privacy."
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About the Author
Cheryl Chumley is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She’s also a 2008-2009 Robert Novak journalism fellow with The Phillips Foundation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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