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Your Xbox 360 is Watching You
Microsoft Latest to Tinker With Snooping TV Tech
by Karl Bode 08:16AM Tuesday Nov 06 2012
Back in March of 2008, Comcast's Gerard Kunkel proclaimed that Comcast was experimenting with embedding cameras in your DVR or cable box, allowing the company to know exactly who is watching what, at what time. There was significant backlash and that idea never materialized, but there continues to be a flood of patents for similar concepts. Microsoft is the latest, filing a new Kinect-focused patent to "monitor, count and in some cases identify" people watching television programs or movies using the Kinect sensor. The patent, which refers to the idea as a consumer detector, involves one scenarios where Microsoft could charge for TV shows or movies based on the number of viewers in the room.

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TelecomEng

@rr.com

Black electrical tape

Problem solved, no?
JazzJRabbit

join:2003-09-27
Wheaton, IL

Re: Black electrical tape

Yes, solved, unless you actually use kinect to play games. Putting electrical tape on and off will get real annoying real fast.

sivran
Opera ex-pat
Premium
join:2003-09-15
Irving, TX
kudos:1

Re: Black electrical tape

Who the hell does that?

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1
how about just blocking the kinect sensor when you what a movie or tv show

The_ANoN

@charter.com

Re: Black electrical tape

Or... you could just unplug it from your Xbox.. I think thats the easiest thing to do..
b10010011
Whats a Posting tag?

join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA
How about turning off your Xbox or unplugging the Kinect?

I can not imagine Microsoft ever having any exclusive movie or even gaming content that would make me run out and buy an Xbox.
big_e

join:2011-03-05
The xbox will respond to your black tape with the following.... "Error 501: Sensor blocked. Please point device towards audience or remove obstruction to resume video playback."

CptSpaulding

join:2009-07-21
Cincinnati, OH

Another reason to not buy Kinect

I want something to watch Microsoft...

CptSpaulding

join:2009-07-21
Cincinnati, OH

Re: Another reason to not buy Kinect

mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI
Besides the fact that Kinect games suck.

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

Re: Another reason to not buy Kinect

said by mogamer:

Besides the fact that Kinect games suck.

I haven't played a ton of Kinect games, but that's more or less my general assessment as well. Based on some of the "tracking" it has done playing a game, it has trouble finding a large, 300lb man standing all by his self in a large empty room who is trying to be identified. Not a chance in hell it can actually identify multiple people specifically who are just sitting around casually watching.

whamel
billhamel .net
Premium
join:2002-05-09
Hinsdale, IL
kudos:10
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·AT&T U-Verse
·Comcast

1 recommendation

big brother?

don't they collect enough information just using cookies on your browser...be it on your phone, tablet, personal computer...I can see the XBOX Live software maliciously tracking you. But using the Kinect is a whole other balgame in terms of privacy...

Opt me out...
--
Bill - Hattiesburg, MS - »www.billhamel.net

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL

Re: big brother?

cookies don't work that way.

lordfly

join:2000-10-12
Homestead, FL

If this thing uses IR...

You could setup some sort of false IR source to confused it. However, personally I would turn the stupid thing around and point it at the wall at that point.

TheHelpful1
Premium
join:2002-01-11
Upper Marlboro, MD

Re: If this thing uses IR...

Don't point it at the wall. Make a screensaver of people just sitting there and point it at that all day. Share the screensaver online and encourage other people to do the same

But seriously, just buy one of these things: »www.amazon.com/Pritect-Sensor-Xb···054NROWU
--
"My weakness is that I care too much"
InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5

Re: If this thing uses IR...

said by TheHelpful1:

Don't point it at the wall. Make a screensaver of people just sitting there and point it at that all day. Share the screensaver online and encourage other people to do the same

Kinect uses stereoscopic IR cameras for 3D vision and a color camera for miscellaneous other purposes. A static 2D image will not fool the 3D tracking.

astrob0I

@rr.com

Re: If this thing uses IR...

Point it at a bust of Beethoven.
BeakersBro

join:2011-06-24

bullets

Just because they have a patent doesn't mean they have any intent to use it.

patents are like bullets - not something you want to run out of and it helps to have a stockpile.

Mr Anon

@k12.il.us

Don't worry.

If they ever even get it off the ground they will never actually pitch it to companies and what not. Once they do get something going they will kill it.

xyz101

@cox.net

fail

If this has any chance of working, they'd have to make the xbox a whole lot quieter, as the current noisy xbox just isn't going to be left on whilst not using it and don't start up that non-sense about using the xbox to watch TV. It's too cumbersome to turn on/sign in just to watch TV and again, due to the noise, folks aren't going to leave it on 24/7, not to mention that they go bad faster when left on all the time.

B.B.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

NOT

One more reason not to use MSFT products or services. The blowback on that would be unbelievable. This is probably some unholy alliance with the media companies. They would love to charge by the person.

DrModem
Trust Your Doctor
Premium
join:2006-10-19
USA
kudos:1

Re: NOT

This probably won't ever be used. Companies patent any idea they come up with just in case. Anyone remember the apple patent about using IR lights to disable iPhone cameras at concerts?
dkreck

join:2011-02-09
Bakersfield, CA

Camera

Oh come on. There's been a camera behind that little black window on your cable box for years. Yet you sit naked on the couch on purpose.
pittpete1

join:2009-06-12

unplug it

I keep the kinect unplugged till the kids want to use it.
Kinect sucks any way.
Only reason we got it because the wife wanted to Zumba.
Ask me how many times she Zumbbed?
GroovyPhoenx

join:2006-05-22
Gloucester, ON

Re: unplug it

said by pittpete1:

I keep the kinect unplugged till the kids want to use it.
Kinect sucks any way.
Only reason we got it because the wife wanted to Zumba.
Ask me how many times she Zumbbed?

She does it religiously of course! I know I'm in her course daily! :P
Madtown
Premium
join:2008-04-26
Madera, CA
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by pittpete1:

I keep the kinect unplugged till the kids want to use it.
Kinect sucks any way.
Only reason we got it because the wife wanted to Zumba.
Ask me how many times she Zumbbed?

Prolly not that much if at all.
amungus
Premium
join:2004-11-26
America
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
·KCH Cable

eff this

Incredible. Nielsen is probably drooling.........

Just what we really need. Less privacy. More statistics.

This part is especially insane:

Or, if the number of viewers exceeds the limits laid out by a particular content license, the system would halt playback unless additional viewing rights were purchased.

The system could also take into account the age of viewers, limiting playback of mature content to adults, for example. This patent application doesn’t explain how that would work, but a separate Microsoft patent application last year described a system for using sensors to estimate age based on the proportions of their body.

There are teenagers who are larger than some adults, and some adults who are smaller than teenagers. How they expect the latter part to function at all is insane.
The first part is also a mess of an idea.
Hell, the whole thing reeks of "bad idea," but there are obviously people who disagree.
ibegary

join:2012-11-05
united state

Re: eff this

They're going to get a show when i'm watching some porn.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL
It's a bad idea for us, but the entertainment industry would love it. Imagine them being able to sell a movie, even one on disc, that limits viewing to a certain number of people. Want to invite someone else in? All you have to do is buy an additional license. Would you like a license for just one viewing or one that permanently increases the number of people who can view this disc at a single time?

And the sports leagues would go nuts over this. Imagine buying a game on PPV. You'd no longer be able to split the cost among a group of people who'd all pack into your den. Now, each person would be counted and have to pay an additional fee.

There is absolutely nothing in this that's good for the consumer, but the programmers will want this very badly.
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:2

Re: eff this

Don't forget that it will make it possible for broadcasters to ensure you watch the commercials! Just tweak the copyright laws so watching commercials is considered a form of 'payment' and they will have you in civil court with your Kinect sensor data as evidence.

"But, your honor, I had to pee!"

"GUILTY!! When are you people going to learn that you can't steal from these poor companies?! Your are ordered to pay Ford $1000 in damages and must watch their commercial 100 times within the next week... NEXT CASE."
The Antihero

join:2002-04-09
Enola, PA
said by amungus:

There are teenagers who are larger than some adults, and some adults who are smaller than teenagers. How they expect the latter part to function at all is insane.

Exactly. My wife is only 4'11". I think my son was already taller than that when he was 13. I doubt that a device would be able to tell which was which.

mmay149q
Premium
join:2009-03-05
Dallas, TX
kudos:48

This is the dumbest shit I've heard

You can guarantee that if people somehow like this idea, I will no longer buy X-Box products, I meant I have a 360 Elite right now that I don't even hardly play, why would I want an X-box that spys on me when I'm doing whatever it is I'm doing on my X-box? And then the audacity to openly admit they are doing this so that they can charge per person for videos you rent or etc? Geevus, can you imagine those "Movie watching night parties" people would be having? I can already see the Facebook invite going something like this...

"Please ensure you bring $25 to cover yourself for the movie, only up to 4 other people can watch for free, also BYOB!"

This is just ridiculous, these companies are always looking for a way to milk the cash cow called movie theaters, and now they want to install it in your home.... What's next? They're going to start charging a monthly fee for the video service on top of the X-box live membership, and then charge $X per person per video? Eff that!

-Matt
--
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein

Fuzzybear84

@centurytel.net

Microsoft getting NOSY!!!

What is with these companies thinking they can invade a person's privacy? It's a very good reason not to use Xbox or Kinect. I guess they don't mind hurting their business. If I wanted some stranger watching me I'ld invite him into my house.