You won’t have to worry if Verizon can hear — or see — you now, if the company’s dream of a set-top box that could monitor all the activities inside your home becomes a reality. The company has filed a patent for a DVR system that would be used as a tool to then target customers with ads based on their daily doings. Which means I’d get a lot of ads for pajama jeans.
The news of the patent comes by way of Ars Technica, which notes that it isn’t just Verizon that wants to creep up all in your business. Comcast patented something similar back in 2008 that would suggest content to users based on who’s in the room, and Google wants Google TV to eventually use audio and video recorders to check out who’s paying attention to what’s on.
Verizon’s patent dates back to May 2011 but was just published recently. In the application, Verizon puts forth two examples of when the set top box would be helpful: A couple arguing gets ads for marriage counseling, but when the box hears them “cuddle” (what sound does a cuddle make?) it sends helpful ads for contraceptives.
That’s adorable! Or is it creepy? It’s pretty creepy. Don’t worry yet whether you’ll be constantly humming “Somebody’s watching you” as these patents haven’t resulted in actual products yet. And you will always have the option to not buy the thing.