dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


view:
topics flat nest 
Comments on news posted 2013-02-07 09:11:36: Over the last few years Microsoft, Comcast and Verizon have all filed patents for DVR technology that would monitor people in your living room to deliver more suitable ads. ..

page: 1 · 2 · next


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT

HOW???

"and even at what volume:"
Once the TV mode is programmed the volume control commands are sent to the TV and not to the receiver...



hitachi369
Embrace Your Rights
Premium
join:2001-10-03
Grand Rapids, MI
kudos:4

It could pick up the IR signals from the remote either way.



Riusaki

join:2000-09-14
Space

Volume

How does the DVR track how loud the volume is? Does it have a mic built in that picks up the sound from the TV? Is it somehow collecting this information through the HDMI cable in some way?

--
Make the homies say HO and the girlies wanna SCREAM!



jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

No Problem

Easy: Blackhole the DVR on your Internet/LAN border. Problem solved.

Oh, that's right: The "AT&" thing is TV-over-IP. Okay: Don't use the thing that calls itself "AT&T" these days. That would be, and is, my choice.

Jim



jgkolt
Premium
join:2004-02-21
Avon, OH

opt in

This should be opt in



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to hitachi369

Re: HOW???

said by hitachi369:

It could pick up the IR signals from the remote either way.

Only up/down with no reference level means absolutely nothing. Not to mention that the receiver may or may not catch signals intended for the TV and has no way of telling whether the TV has actually received them or not.


JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL

Determining volume setting?

If you neglect to program the U-Verse remote to use your TV's volume it will use the DVR to control the volume in the signal sent to the TV. AT&T would have access to that information I suppose. I wonder how many subscribers don't program the U-Verse remote to control the volume via the TV? If you don't program the remote you can't use it to turn your TV on/off either so my guess is most do not use the DVR volume feature. I know the U-Verse installer programmed all my remotes as part of the installation.



Bill Neilson
Premium
join:2009-07-08
Arlington, VA
reply to jgkolt

Re: opt in

said by jgkolt:

This should be opt in

Most if not all of these types of things should be "opt in" yet very rarely are they

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

You have no rights to select how your usage data is used.

After the 2000 election the corporatist took over the government and allowed the corporations to do whatever they wanted to customers. Particularly the ISP's have engaged in increased snooping on customers. They can do this because they are a monopoly and have bought and paid for our lawmakers. Digital STB's have always accessed an authentication server to determine if the channel selected is authorized for viewing. At that point they can capture your viewing habits.


Buffy Solano

join:2012-11-06
Vallejo, CA

Cable / Uverse / Satellite

When cable providers switched away from self-contained decoding boxes to "digital" boxes, it became clear that all "encrypted" channels selected would be routed through the company computers for permission to decode (watch) that channel. This also meant that all choices could be monitored and a record kept. Currently, all all cable channels are encrypted.

Uverse follows the cable industry as the receiver (or DVR) communicates for permission to activate a channel.

Satellite receivers (and DVR's) that are not connected to a phone line only decode the subscribed channels. Special purchases require a connection to a phone line (or LAN / Internet). Special purchases can also be called-in with "permission" sent by satellite signal.

What baffles me is how the cable companies and Uverse are allowed to circumvent the Federal Wiretap Laws that have been in effect since 1920's.

My solution is simple. Do not subscribe to a service that can spy on you.



Majestik
World Traveler
Premium
join:2001-05-11
Tulsa, OK

Never owned a DVR anyway.
Don't need it.
Don't own a TV.

I guess that's my solution.
--
The adventure continues...Sanctuary....


clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
reply to cowboyro

Re: HOW???

TiVo boxes already do this. Every time I adjust the volume or mute (with the TiVo remote that controls my AV receiver), it sends an extra command at the end telling the box that I adjusted the volume.

I know this because the TiVo has an LED on the front that lights up when a command is received, and it blinks every time you touch the volume controls. It also sends data in real time over the web back to its mothership when you do just about anything. I've had some fun with TiVo and wireshark...



cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

...Or the led may just be an idiot light that says that it detected an IR signal, not that it does anything in particular with it. My HTPC has a IR receiver that blinks when it receives a signal, regardless if the computer actually does anything with it. It's actually pretty dumb as it indicates it picks up a lot of IR that ended up being IR noise coming from the plasma TV.



cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to jgkolt

Re: opt in

You opted in when you signed up for service. It was the microprinting on the edge of page 897 of your service agreement.



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to clone

Re: HOW???

said by clone:

TiVo boxes already do this. Every time I adjust the volume or mute (with the TiVo remote that controls my AV receiver), it sends an extra command at the end telling the box that I adjusted the volume.

Only sooner or later the box *WILL* lose track of your actual volume as for sure the number of steps for volume is different for AV receiver and TV box.
Ex ATT box is at volume 25 (max) and home theater at volume 25 (max 60). You keep pressing the vol+ key. ATT box stays at 25, HT goes to 50. Press the vol- key, HT goes to 20 , ATT box stops at 0....


Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

TiVo has been doing this for years

TiVo has been tracking usage anonymously for years. Users can opt out if they want.

If AT&T allows users to opt out, I don't see a problem.
--
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.



hitachi369
Embrace Your Rights
Premium
join:2001-10-03
Grand Rapids, MI
kudos:4
reply to cowboyro

Re: HOW???

Each device's remote would be sending a different signal.


clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
reply to cdru

No, it's not the "IR Blaster" kind of LED. It only blinks when you adjust volume using the TiVo-specific remote. For example, you hold the "VOL -" button for 3 seconds, when you let go it blinks. You hit mute, it blinks. It does not blink when you adjust the volume using the AV receiver's remote or a universal remote. It does not blink when receiving "random IR", only when it processes a valid command.

The remote specifically sends a command to the box letting it know you've adjusted the volume. It is not doing any volume adjustment on the box itself, this is only for tracking purposes. Additionally, as I already noted, it also sends this information back to the home server, in real time. Any command you send the unit is tracked over the internet in real time. Pause a TV show? Data sent. Rewind a TV show? Data sent. Skip a commercial? Data sent.

If you know anyone who knows how to use a packet sniffer and has a TiVo (not sure about other DVRs), it really is astonishing how much live information is transmitted back to the home office.

If you use a universal or stock remote to adjust volume, they will not be able to track it. Additionally, they don't want to know "how loud" you're listening to the programs. They want to know what times you raise or lower the volume from whatever the baseline level you are listening to the program at. With enough of this kind of data in aggregate, it can be very valuable to advertisers.


clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
reply to hitachi369

As I noted above, when using the remote that comes with the DVR, you will program it to control your audio device (TV or Receiver, whatever), then it will also send an extra command to the box to inform it you adjusted the volume.

Steps, etc. has no bearing. They only want to know at what times you raise, lower, or mute the sound. By how much, etc. is not important.



Lark3po
Premium
join:2003-08-05
Madison, AL
reply to Riusaki

Re: Volume

Maybe it has a built in SPL meter...



chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

NSA

Considering this is coming from a company that give data to the NSA this is not a far shot at all.



dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
reply to jgkolt

Re: opt in

said by jgkolt:

This should be opt in

but but but . . .
theres no money in opt in!
--
Despises any post with strings.

rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Volume Level

Lots of talk regarding detecting the remote infrared signal. How much information does the TV feed through the HDMI port?

Regardless, I'm not too worried about volume but a camera watching me to determine if a dog is in the room is creepy. However, a camera seems easy to defeat. Put a piece of tape over the lens.

If doing that somehow disables the remote control, then I would put the DVR inside a cabinet and buy one of those IR repeater devices that are designed to use a remote in another room. I'd just use it in the same room by sticking the blaster inside the cabinet with the DVR.

If the DVR is smart enough to require a heat signature in the room or it doesn't work, that would be harder to defeat but not impossible for the determined. One could quarantine it a spare room and use pillows wrapped in an electric blanket. Of course if it periodically requires the heat signature to move or it gets sophisticated enough to detect breathing/pulse ...... maybe it's time to quit watching TV!



IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Bring on the lawsuits

If Comcast were to put a camera on my DVR, I would file a lawsuit against them citing violations of the Peeping Tom statutes and other privacy laws.

The ones that would profit from the DVR cameras would be the attorneys and Comcast would have to raise rates as litigation is a cost of doing business.

Putting a camera in someone's living room in this context would be highly illegal under the laws of most states.

If cable wants to compete with IPTV (Netflix), get rid of advertising. Our cable subscriptions more than pay for the cost of content. The advertisers are wasting money as well as I don't buy any of the garbage advertised on cable.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.


jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA
reply to Mr Matt

Re: You have no rights to select how your usage data is used.

That is the opposite of privacy. 8-)


jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA
reply to cdru

Re: HOW???

clone used wireshark to see that information does actually get sent back to TiVo.



seamore
Premium
join:2009-11-02
reply to IowaCowboy

Re: Bring on the lawsuits

said by IowaCowboy:

If Comcast were to put a camera on my DVR, I would file a lawsuit against them citing violations of the Peeping Tom statutes and other privacy laws.

The ones that would profit from the DVR cameras would be the attorneys and Comcast would have to raise rates as litigation is a cost of doing business.

Putting a camera in someone's living room in this context would be highly illegal under the laws of most states.

If cable wants to compete with IPTV (Netflix), get rid of advertising. Our cable subscriptions more than pay for the cost of content. The advertisers are wasting money as well as I don't buy any of the garbage advertised on cable.

But you are signing up for their service and you would have "agreed" with it via TOS.


Todd

@comcast.net

Re: Camera

A little bit of electrical tape in the right place would take care of that DVR camera nicely.


dkreck

join:2011-02-09
Bakersfield, CA

Cams

Oh come on. There's been a camera behind the dark red window on your cable box for years. They have all the pictures of what you do while watching porn.



IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to seamore

Re: Bring on the lawsuits

said by seamore:

said by IowaCowboy:

If Comcast were to put a camera on my DVR, I would file a lawsuit against them citing violations of the Peeping Tom statutes and other privacy laws.

The ones that would profit from the DVR cameras would be the attorneys and Comcast would have to raise rates as litigation is a cost of doing business.

Putting a camera in someone's living room in this context would be highly illegal under the laws of most states.

If cable wants to compete with IPTV (Netflix), get rid of advertising. Our cable subscriptions more than pay for the cost of content. The advertisers are wasting money as well as I don't buy any of the garbage advertised on cable.

But you are signing up for their service and you would have "agreed" with it via TOS.

It would be an illegal agreement as most states have privacy laws on the books. There are certain behaviors by companies that are ruled illegal as customers have certain rights. It would be like your landlord requiring to fix the heating system in another tenant's unit without compensation as a term of the lease. This kind of contract would not stand a legal challenge and Comcast has been the subject of many lawsuits over contract language which forced them to rewrite their terms of service. One lawsuit was over their refusal to define excessive bandwidth usage and they settled that by imposing a 250 GB cap. Contract litigation happens everyday in the court system.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.