After Hours

Comcast considers creepy new addition to the set top box

Is Comcast considering a video feedback device for its set top box? The answer is yes, but how it intends to use it is the real question. In an interview with NewTeeVee's Chris Albrecht, Gerard Kunkle, Comcast's VP of user experience, mentioned a camera device that would identify the viewer and serve up programming and advertisements tailored to the individual. Now, he states that he was discussing a gesture feedback device. Either way, it is a little creepy.

I have never been one of the tinfoil hat crowd in the past, but that could change --especially in light of the comments made by Comcast's Gerard Kunkel, senior VP of user experience, to reporter Chris Albrecht of NewTeeVee.com. Mr. Kunkel mentioned an experiment with different camera technologies built into the cable box that would be able to tell who is in the room watching television.

From NewTeeVee:

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.

As a Comcast subscriber, I can't say that I am in favor at all with this idea. Without even going down the obvious road of "invasion of privacy," the sense of being constantly watched would be just a bit more than I could stand. And then the question of security has to be considered. If it can stream data from the set top box, how is it securing that stream? Who else could reasonably get to that stream? How could it be exploited?

From ITtoolbox:

As far back as 1998, Phrack had examples on how to hack a set top box to decode any signal coming off the system. With the advent of IPTV (Internet protocol delivered TV) and interactive TV the way to address and capture information off these systems is to have any access to the controlled private network that they operate on.

Everyone who has a set top box, has access to this controlled private network. This means that the controlled private network is truly private. It can be intercepted as well the data that is generated at some point t by your set top box when ordering movies is transmitted back to the cable tv office. That usually happens across the cable system, but can also be phoned in.

PBX hacking is too easy, and too common. But what about signals that are sent from the set top box to the cable tv company?

The good to know part about cable TV is that the signal is bi-directional, so it is possible to put a monitor on the line (which is illegal) and intercept the data that is crossing the cable line. Since you will be on a limited system (only access to your digital neighbors, depending on how the system is networked), it would be easy to subvert the cable infrastructure in your house, and literally monitor all the communications on your cable line from your digital neighbors, from IP to TCP/IP to VOIP, and the signal coming off the proposed embedded video camera in a system.

There's more, but you get the point.

After the initial story was published, public opinion poured in, and it wasn't the sound of happy, contented people. Amidst comments that ranged from "Pass the black tape" to "Pull the plug," Comcast's Gerard Kunkel tried to defuse the ire. Chris Albrecht not only responded, he updated the story.

From NewTeeVee:

Chris,

Your article on "Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You" portrayed some assumptions that require correction and clarification. I want to be clear that in no way are we exploring any camera devices that would monitor customer behavior.

To gather information for your article on Comcast's exploration of cameras you picked up on my conversation with another conference attendee. The other attendee and I were deep in a conversation discussing a variety of input devices offered by a variety of vendors that Comcast is reviewing.

The camera-based gesture recognition device is in no way designed to -- or capable of -- monitoring your living room. These technologies are designed to allow simple navigation on a television set just as the Wii remote uses a camera to manage its much heralded gesture-based interactivity.

We are constantly exploring new technologies that better serve our customers. The goal is simple -- a better user experience that allows the consumer to get ever increasing value out of their Comcast products.

As with any new technology, we carefully consider the consumer benefits. In fact, we do an enormous amount of consumer testing in advance of making a product decision such as this. I'm confident that a new technology like gesture-based navigation will be fully explored with consumers to understand the product's feature benefits -- and of course, the value to the consumer.

Sincerely, Gerard Kunkel

I responded to Mr. Kunkel in our comment with the following:

Hi Mr. Kunkel,

Just to further clarify. After you granted me our initial video interview, you brought up the topic of Comcast knowing who was in the living room in a conversation between you, myself, and another conference attendee.

I actually left and came back to follow up on this point while you were talking with that same attendee. At this point, you were aware that I was a reporter and I took handwritten notes in front of you as we talked to make sure I had an accurate accounting of what you were saying.

I'd love to talk further with either you or someone else at Comcast to follow up on this story.

A person named Jenni Moyer, claiming to be from Comcast, posted a nearly identical message to Mr. Kunkel's on PC World's blog on this story. And frankly, I will be quite hurt if someone from Comcast doesn't post to this thread.

Whether the device is intended for consumer benefit is almost not the point. The question is how far are we willing to allow companies with whom we do business to invade our private space? I have a set top box. I have three. I have remotes for all of them. I even have a Harmony integrated remote. My viewing experience is just ducky, thanks. I don't need to gesture at the TV any more than I already do -- and the gestures that I make are probably not ones that Comcast needs to see.

How about you? What do you think of Comcast or any other cable provider placing a camera in the set top box for any purpose?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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195 comments
konakoffee
konakoffee

When you have a machine that dictates how you behave, or assumes any thinking for you, it's time to get rid of that machine. It would be like having a stove that turns on the burners whenever you go into the kitchen. To what benefit? Or more pointedly, who actually benefits? It sounds more like espionage to me.

gregory
gregory

Not going to happen in my place. Thats just going to far. Bye bye Comcast if you do!

damon2
damon2

I've got this real cute neighbor..... and ya gotta wonder just when in this day of uploaded videos we'll start seeing ourselves on youtube After all most people have a tv in other rooms as well, so maybe that really little tv in the bathroom wasn't such a good idea after all. What I find the most disconcerting is that someone at Comcast actaully thought this was a good idea and that people would agree.

sain.david
sain.david

And now we are going to add microphones so we can listen in high fidelity stereo. Smile...Oh, wait, laugh. There will be a new channel added to the lineup. Simply Pay-per-view your neighbors by selecting them on our new interactive neighborhood map. Watch and listen because they are watching and listening to you! When you don't behave as expected, DON'T ignore that knock at your door. (what other paranoid things can we think of? Maybe this can be a forum for new ideas for Comcast) Logan's Run, THX-1138, 1984, We. Comcast will help shape the perfect future.

gerard_kunkel
gerard_kunkel

Dear Sonja -- I agree with you and want to reassure you that Comcast thinks it would be absolutely inappropriate to give someone the ability to look in on my, or anyone's private life. We value and respect our customer's privacy and do not have plans, and do not intend to do anything of the sort. There are no cameras in Comcast's DVRs. There is no plan to add a camera into a DVR. This line of thinking is coming from an over-exaggeration of a conversation overheard at a recent trade conference. The "camera" in question here is motion sensor. The technology in question is quite common these days - Nintendo's Wii is the most widely known example of this type of optical sensing device. Thank you for the opportunity to post this response. Sincerely, Gerard Kunkel

chaz15
chaz15

Many modern electronic devices contain 'extra' circuitry that is not used (?). Cheaper versions of some phones have GPS circuitry but it is not enabled (??). I am VERY wary of any devices that COULD intrude on people's privacy. The technology is available to track an individual's whereabouts without their knowledge. As for the home, I DO NOT want ANY POSSIBILITY of my privacy being further invaded. The UK Government has the facility to store ALL phone conversations (LAND and AIR), all emails and all web site history, including chat, for SEVEN years for all the population, and it is ALL screened for keywords. If we are to have ANY privacy at all, we have to be VERY wary of electronic device intrusions. Just the POSSIBILITY is scary. Imagine if just all conversations at home were transmitted to remote monitoring. 1984 et all is VERY SCARY for all of us. Who knows who might gain control of this information. As for inbuilt camers, Heaven help us !!!!!

elcid1989
elcid1989

Hasn't there been a movie with something like this already? Was it not one of the technologies showcased in Minority Report? Seriously though folks, if we stand for this form of big brother by private companies, who's gonna curb the feds from watching us in our bedrooms (or elsewhere?)

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

30 years ago or so I knew people who were still scared of television because they honestly thought that the people on the other side of the screen could see them as well. I guess their paranoia is finally justified!

gardoglee
gardoglee

Big Brother, the Patriot Act, and the NSA. 'Nuff said.

Craig_B
Craig_B

Duct Tape - Just another great use for this amazing product. Rabbit Ears - Yes, they still work. Verizon FIOS - (At least someday) Direct TV Place a mirror in front of the lens

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

If I am ever to find this ridiculous product in my living room, my solution is simple - Wrigley's Spearment Gum. I will chew on a stick, until the flavor disappears, then take the wad and carefully smoosh it over the invasive camera pointed in my general direction. Wrigley's has a good advertisement opportunity for value added use to their product.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

This whole monitoring/surveillance thing isn't going to just go away. The longer invasions of our privacy continue the more we're going to get used to it and accept it. I can be as paranoid as hell. That doesn't mean that I don't have good reasons. I wish I didn't have anything to be worried about. That's just not the case.

Mary Nunaley
Mary Nunaley

Just another reason to drop Comcast completely. It's not as if there is much worth viewing on television anyway.

Jaqui
Jaqui

but then I do not even own a television set, or a cable converter to receive cable tv, so that isn't surprising is it. :D until there is content worth watching, there is no reason to waste money getting the service. [ sorry comcast, but 285 channels or reruns is not content worth watching.. 35 channels that repeat every few hours, same thing, not worth it. ] remove the reruns. even when it's the new episode of a current series, only play it ONCE A WEEK, not 6 times a day for a week.

Tig2
Tig2

Comcast discussed adding a camera to its set top box to either serve content and advertising to the individual subscriber or as a gesture recognition device depending on which day you ask, apparently. In an interview with Gerard Kunkel, VP of customer experience at Comcast, the camera would identify a watcher by body type and serve content based on that person's favorites. Later, Mr. Kunkel stated that the camera would provide gesture based response. I personally don't care what they want to use the camera for, I don't want it in my set top box. I find the thought of such a thing invasive and don't think that Comcast really needs to see the gestures that I make to the TV. Comcast's second statement to reporter Chris Albrecht implies that the device is similar to the camera in the Wii gaming system. I don't have one of those either. It seems s if we are being asked to allow others to stand in our privacy space every day. In some cases it is perfectly reasonable. But intrusion into my living room is a step too far. What do you think? Would you consider a camera in your set top box acceptable? Or are you like me and prefer to not go there?

WATKINS12
WATKINS12

Who said anything about agreeing. They didn' t obviously expect anyone to really pay attention. Now that there is this discussion, they probably will just not say anything when they do it in a year or two. I hadn't even heard about the spy microphone they evidently already put in the boxes. 'fess up! What good is sound without the video? You need to let them augment their listening pleasure.

seanferd
seanferd

Someone else has read "We". (Evgeny Zamyatin). Talk about glass houses...

Tig2
Tig2

I appreciate that you took the time to look in on this thread and add your voice. I said something jokingly about being hurt if I did not hear from Comcast and was delighted to read your input. As you can see by the responses received, people would need to see a level of transparency in any changes made to the set top box. Given the need for better privacy and personal security, it is easy to see why. Realistically, there will be those who will not favor a motion sensing device either. I am a Comcast subscriber and I am one of those who prefer to not have that technology. My rationale is simple- I have a Harmony integrated device in the room that is used for television viewing. Having chosen to make that investment, I would not want to be forced into changing. Also, I don't have technology in the house that I don't use. If I purchase an item, I expect to get full use of it. Or I don't bother with it. Were I to have motion sensing devices in my home, I would expect that there is a need they meet that no other device in the house can meet. I appreciate you taking the time to clarify the issues. Sincerely, Tricia Liebert

WATKINS12
WATKINS12

Mr. Kunkle: Your argument is spectious and disingenuous, at best. There is an apple-to-oranges comparison between Comcasts ad-serving box and a Wii game; they serve different purposes. The argument that you wish to enhance the customer's tv viewing experience by making viewing recommendations and serving relevant ads based on a motion sensor doesn't make a lot of sense either. If a couple is being intimate, do you recommend a porn channel or a condoms ad? Also, how would a motion sensor determine the type or quality of the motion to do it properly. Further, I resent having some corporation restricting my viewing pleasure by limiting its offerings based on my motions, physical features or any other criteria. I cancelled my ivillage.com and other memberships just for that reason. As an adult, I feel I am quite capable of making my own decisions regarding what, when, where and how to watch from the drivel being offered by the networks without interference by my signal provider. Your proposed box is truly an invasion of privacy and must not come to fruition. Look forward to lawsuits if you fail to stop it now.

scorpiontheater
scorpiontheater

I DO NOT LIKE THE IDEA OF CAMERAS ON COMCAST'S BOXES. I DO NOT LIKE THE IDEA OF CAMERAS CONTROLLED BY SOMEONE ELSE INSIDE OF MY HOUSE. WE NEED TO DEMAND OUR RIGHTS TO PRIVACY! With that said I am not too concerned with Comcast sticking a camera in their box. How much are they going to spend on the box, and at what percentage will the camera's price be of the total cost? Are you sure this is not a special box for Nielson TV Review where you are compensated for your time for filling out questionaires about your TV video viewing habits? You would be informed of the camera, and you would probably sign some kind of waiver. What kind of camera would you mount in to a tv set top box? You could not use a cheapo $100 camera. Living rooms are to dark, and the picture would be crappy! You would have to use a Sony Chipset, and it would have to have wide dynamic range so that you could get some decent video of you, and your expressions. What kind of lens would you use? If you use a wide angle lens then you run in to distance distortion, and your face would be to small in the video for "recognition", and if you used a zoom lens then how would you get the camera pointed at the person. You would have to have motors on the camera to move it up/down, and left/right to find the person. Who is going to control the camera, or do you create somekind of tracking device to "find" the person. If you have more than one person watching the TV, then who do you watch for expressions? What happens to the people who place the box on the bottom shelf in their entertainment units? I see these "crime tapes" on TV all the time from convenient stores, liquor stores, and mom, and pop business, and the video looks awful!! Video from big box retailers do not look that much better!! How do they expect to video us?? To make this technology useful they would have to use megapixal cameras, and take a "shot" of the whole viewing area, then they would have to have some analytical program to determine who is watching based on a timeline, and "memorization" of the viewer's body shape. Would visitors be discounted, or would the box default to some preset? Tivo allready presents video to you based on prior video habits, and this is where Comcast should look to "create" programing selections. If you really want to stop video dead in it's tracks then put a bright light behind you, and the camera will not be able to see you. You will be just a Silhouette in the video!! If you want to understand cameras then go to www.cctvforum.com Good Luck, and fight for your rights!!

tonymoreno
tonymoreno

1984.......Big Brother is WATCHING YOU!

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

There are people who line up to be on that TV show and be watched 24/7 for weeks at a time - maybe they're going to sell this as our big chance for everyone to be on Big Brother, Comcast Edition?

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

But I have to wonder how long it will take them to catch on. Anyone want to start a pool on the length of time these idiots would take to figure out that: 1. Everyone's living room looks like the latest ads for a furniture store (picture of living room) 2. Everyone's living room isn't pink or green or grey or black all over (gum and tape types suggested) 3. This really isn't a porn unlimited up skirt down blouse in fly site 4. They're looking at themselves?

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

IN SPEARMINT AND NOW IN DELICIOUS BUBBLEGUM! Ok, I'm spending waay too much time thinking about this!

jimpettit
jimpettit

I just closed a pop-up ad on a website that was seeking to use my computer's camera and microphone to 'enhance my user experience'.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

it is happening slowly enough that people are willing to give up their privacy for a myriad of reasons. And anyone who beleives this is actually going on seems to be considered insane, a conspiracy theorist, a nutjob, or just paranoid. So, what channel is Comcast using to upload? That might be a good channel!

message4me
message4me

Never mind the tape! If this is not an invasion of privacy, then there is no such thing anymore. This should not be allowed but of course the cable company would probably say it's your choice. If you don't want our services then don't subscribe. Next thing will be a listening device and then big brother and the hackers will be tuned in to your living room. Oh, and don't forget the bedroom!

TUFOP
TUFOP

No company will ever put a camera in my home unless they plan on paying me six figures a year and then I doubt I would be really interested. If Comcast puts a camera in their box then AT&T or the Dish is my new provider the very next day.

xyxx1
xyxx1

When I heard about this I got the urge to clean and load my musket. Big biz is more dangerous sometimes than government. Right now big business and government are the same. I hope that changes this administration. Comcast puts cameras in cable boxes, even with the option of turning it off, I move to another service. I am lucky. There is another cable company, dsl, and a satellite company here, It is idiocy to even consider it, to talk about it; the public is skittish about this sort of thinking. I don't trust them. I have first class firewall and I use encryption, pgp.

qlas
qlas

The technology will not serve me. As another poster mentioned, I can get all the service and features I need out of a remote control that _I_ control. In the end, this technology serves the carrier to sell advertising. They could collect detailed demographics, for instance. That may seem innocuous until somebody hacks it or the information is used for more nefarious reasons. Don't need it. Cool is not a reason.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

production costs, if they're filming their customers! I'm not above cuddling with my wife on the sofa in front of the TV :)

jim
jim

There will come a time when all privacy will be deleted from our everyday lives but thank THE GOOD LORD I am old enough that it will probably not happen in my time. GOD is the only ONE who is supposed to be watching us.

#1 Kenster
#1 Kenster

If Mr. Kunkel really means what he says here - "We are constantly exploring new technologies that better serve our customers. The goal is simple ? a better user experience that allows the consumer to get ever increasing value out of their Comcast products." I have some advice for him. I would much prefer he work on some method of delivering the bandwidth I'm paying for instead of copping out with the "up to" however many MBs I'm supposedly getting. He could increase the amount of space for programs I record because I don't raelly feel like building one of my own. Oh there's plenty of things they can do to provide a better "user experience", and putting a camera in my bedroom is not one of them. I don't really care if their advertisers think they will be better able to tailor ads to whoever is in the room. I'm not paying them to watch ads in the first place, whatever they may think.

WATKINS12
WATKINS12

I agree. Besides, that could cause frequent channel changes and disrupt the viewing experience based on what some Comcast wanker decides is your "favorite" for that gesture/body type. What happens when there are multiple body types and/or gestures? I still feel I am capable of using the remote, even at my age, and I expect to be for quite some time. Let me decide what to watch and leave me a modicum of privacy for a little longer. It is being taken away from us far too fast as it is by the government (HIPAA, the banking "privacy" act, CAN-SPAM, the Patriot Act, etc.) There is no need for private industry (now there is an oxymoron, emphasis on the moron) to assist them.

TUFOP
TUFOP

No way! If they make that a mandatory part of their service they are going to lose me as a customer. I have 2 cable boxes, telephone and Internet. I will cancel it all in a heart beat.

TUFOP
TUFOP

Put a camera on my desktop box and I will have Satellite the very next day. I have been a loyal comcast customer since before it bought AT&T. I am usrging all comcast customers who are faced with this invasion of provacy to cancell Comcast and go directly to Direct TV. I work for neither so my motivation is strictly Comcast's aragance!

seanferd
seanferd

Good article, good discussion.

lachandler2000
lachandler2000

Anybody ever seen the original Rollerball? Corporations became the govenment. I don't want anyone putting ANYTHING in my home to "watch over me"! If I need monitoring, I will get what I need. If big media wants to know what I think...ask me! First thing I want out the door is the so called reality show and any movie which is an "improvement" on the original book or movie.

schmidt
schmidt

Simply go order the FCC digital converter box coupons and disconnect Comcast. This is absolutely to Orwellian to allow.

cnaw
cnaw

Comcast makes money from the ads, you lose privacy! That is the motive. Doing for the customer??? Since when do we want invasion of privacy??? SInce when do I want ads?

fooooot
fooooot

There is no reason that I can think of that this is reasonable

KestrelVt
KestrelVt

Are they crazy? We have are invaded in too many ways and this is just another example of being violated!

bells_work
bells_work

Not at my house they won't. Total invasion of privacy. Guess I need to check out the rabbit ears again.

frank.bartholomew
frank.bartholomew

Why would anyone in their right mind give a company acces to their home?

eric.reinholt
eric.reinholt

I think Comcast will take away the camera soon enough if I start walking around in only tennis shoes. Either that, or Comcast technicians and security will no doubt start to suffer from hysterical blindness. ;)

bkoelrich
bkoelrich

Let's all (Comcast too) take out our copies of George Orwell's book "1984", and re-learn what it could be like to have, not the government as was depicted in the book, but our cable provider, essentially monitoring our privacy! What would we all allow next: the utility companies, our credit card companies/student loan/mortage bankers, landlords, etc., monitoring us? For any reason? What have our soldiers been dying for since the birth of our nation? The right to be FREE, to PRIVACY, and to be unfettered in our daily (and of course, legal) lives/pursuits by ANYONE for ANY REASON! So, after we've read up in "1984", let's read up on the U.S. Constitution. I've never served in the military, but I know & respect the costs in lives of the current, and past, wars to secure our rights and freedoms too many of us too often take for granted. Think I'm a paranoid "flag-waver"? OK, let Comcast, and all of us, know how you feel about having a camera, or any kind of monitor, in YOUR home?

Mikiel
Mikiel

Don?t worry. Much like having an unlisted number, you can opt to disable the camera interface enhancements ? for just $10/month.

webmaster
webmaster

...it's not even funny anymore. That said, I still find it very creepy. That said, well over half of the American sheeple expect the government to tell them what to think and do so I'm guessing they'll be fine with this.

bill.fuller
bill.fuller

That's what black electrical tape is for.

rrmaddo
rrmaddo

COMCAST nor anybody else will get a camera in my house. That would be a gross invasion of the privacy of my family!!!!! Ralph

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

Not just no, but hell no! It is a story like this that makes me happy that I told Comcast to cram it months ago. Are they really so ignorant as to think that this is something the consumer would want?

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

It's a step [b]way[/b] too far. The day that becomes reality is the day subscriber TV bites the dust in my house. edit: playing with psuedo tags and got it wrong

zetacon4
zetacon4

There will never be a justifiable reason to allow any company to place a visual or auditory monitor in any of their equipment placed in the privacy of a home. When will the public and governing officials put a stop to our privacy invasions!? Who is in charge of such disastrous ideas at Comcast? They really need to get a clue!

fractalzoom
fractalzoom

The camera-in-the-home is an image lifted *DIRECTLY* from Orwell's "1984". And while I can't at this moment cite a specific instance of the Gummint having spied on an individual, that doesn't make it forever impossible. Ubiquitous security cameras are already the accepted norm in England. If cameras in the home become an accepted norm in the US, who's to say that some high-minded public official won't make the case that we need to be observed in our homes, "for the public good?" This is a slippery, slippery slope.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

then you have NOTHING TO FEAR! Here at the Ministry of Truth, we will soon be making these mandatory, for Dish, and other satellite TVs. Also they will installed in all new Dell computers and Sony's. (They come bundled with spyware already, this will just be for the 'Good of the People'). All wireless and ethernet hubs and routers will similarly be configured to have cameras in them, and the infrared port on all TVs with a remote will be modified the next time a repairman is at your place. For those who don't have a TV, a PC or a Mac, the 'Ministry of Neighborly Love' will install a neighbor next to you with hi-frequency wall-penetrating sensors like SWAT teams now use. Anyone who complains must realize this is 'FOR THE CHILDREN!'. If only one child is saved from criminal acts or unsafe conditions by the 'Ministry of Safety' then it will be all worth it. The 'Ministry of Truth' will also be responsible for seeing to it that your child is taught the proper thoughts. Those who think they can get a cushy job during this down economy, at one of these ministries, we're not in the 1984 George Orwell / Brazil stone ages where the bulk of the population is employed spying (woops, I meant 'checking for truth'), better think again. We're employing vast data centers known as 'building brains' (as part of the 'Ministry of the Sky Network') that will analyze the videos for 'Wrong Think'. No need for fallible humans to cover up or miss parts of the data stream. And everyone knows that computers are always right and can't become sentient or run amok building horrible legions of killing machines. This way you can enjoy 'Freedom from Work' while you also enjoy 'Freedom from Wrongthink'. Have a nice future, everyone!! :)

mommajuggs2
mommajuggs2

so i watch tv in my bedroom just what do they think i am stupid

navtec
navtec

Let's see, we're watched on the streets now; vdieo taped in every store; videotaped as we pass through busy intesections so those who blow stoip lights can be automatically ticketed; if we are stupid enough (in Illinois) to buy into the IPASS system to avoid using the coin operated tolls, we can now be timed between tools and ticketed for speeding (and otherwise tracked via the GPS in the IPASS unit for any other purpose the powers that be decide in the future). And the masses just eat it up like George Orwell never wrote "1984". And then they have a hissy-fit over the Gov. monitoring/looking for possible terrorist communications though wire taps! and scream "big-brother" abusing our privacy rights, like they're really interested in listening in on the masses of grunge urban yuppie gossip-mongering and teen-mall text messaging & yap yap yap! And NOW we have the laude COMCAST wanting to put cameras in their customers homes! I am not into government intervention privately or in commerce in general but THIS is so TOTALLY over-the-top. COMCAST needs a serious SMACKDOWN on this one!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Advertising based on picture, so if 'you' was a smidgeon overweight you'd get slimming products, old you get anti-aging. Young and in love condoms? Oh it's got to be done the potential for hilarious screwups is enormous. I also want to make it clear, that absolutely no government agencies would ever be able to access the camera, except when they feel they need to.

Elvis.Is.Alive
Elvis.Is.Alive

I don't know if you know this, but all TVs that have an infrared remote sensor already have a camera. The remote sensor is actually a 'camera'. Cable and Sattelite companies have already been watching us all for about 15 years. They record everything you do, and upload it back to their archiving servers so that the FBI or marketing partners can view what you do. (Why do you think that the sattelite companies insist on you plugging your receiver into a phone line..... for uploading video of you and your family!). :)

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

And I doubt even our convenience based society is ready for this (at large).

Mr L
Mr L

Ok, all you bright folks out there: Inline device that monitors the outbound stream from your cable/satellite box, allows you to see exactly what it being monitored/trapped, and lets you filter it any way you see fit. Don't want outbound images...gone. Don't want that conversation you were having piped back to your "entertainment provider"...gone. (please do not submit current network sniffers...this product would not be targeted at network engineers, it's market is "everyone" so it needs to do all the work and be simple to understand/manage)

Mr L
Mr L

...gotcha. Seriously though, if the camera's here how far can the high gain microphone "for giving voice commands to your cable box...to enhance your experience" be behind?

robbiemckay
robbiemckay

If Comcast puts a camera on the set top box then I will use duct tape to accessorize the lens on it.

gar123
gar123

I wonder what type of programs will be scheduled when you shoot the bird at it. ; )

nicemilano
nicemilano

No way, I don't think this is necessary. The WII is a gaming consule while the camera can be use for part of its game features there is a legible reason for having it there. And while the gamers maybe able to control the camera on the WII, the cable providers will have it on action every time you turn on your settop box. Therefore, you really don't know who is watching you. Comcast? It is the first company I wouldn't trust with deal like this for my home cable box.

binarypc
binarypc

yeesh, no camera's wanted here, come on, whatever happened to people's right to privacy?

Luttonw
Luttonw

Duct tape. Gonna be mighty dark in MY house. And (for the mike) very, very quiet.

lfg54
lfg54

putting cameras in set up box is a very bad idea. Why, this would invade privacy of customers.

kburmaster
kburmaster

It's not just living rooms. People have cable boxes in their bedrooms as well. Some hacker ( or the NSA ) is going to figure out how to hack their system and start spying on people. What's Comcast going to do next, put microphones on their cable boxes? I've been a DirecTV customer for many years, except for a few months when I had to live in an apartment while my house was redone, and I was forced to use Comcast. From personal experience, they are a bunch of morons over there. If they can't even get cable TV right, imagine the blunders they'll make with this technology? I don't even have a webcam, why would I want a cable cam? I LOVE the tape, paint, and chewing gum ideas! Next thing you know, TVs will have cameras so the V chip can tell if children are in front of the TV...Orwell was no fool.

Rderrow
Rderrow

WOW I never though I would say this but I sure do miss the old days. Sure I would have to give up some the techy things I enjoy so much but at least my life would actually be my life. This is a truly idiotic move that just shows even our cable providers do not trust us anymore. I guess we are all criminals.

ProfessorCurt
ProfessorCurt

I find it curious that no one mentioned the invasion-of-privacy aspect to this whole issue. Is it just me, or is no one else offended by the notion of unknown individuals working for a private company spying on you in your own home? Have we become so desensitized by fear that the Right of Personal Privacy ahs been abandoned? To quote Ben Franklin: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.".

ellsanto
ellsanto

...well actually I don't. :) Just wanted to be the first one to say so. No big worry for me, I don't subscribe to cable and don't plan to any time soon. Weren't we told back in the eighties that the government was watching us through the TV itself. Comcast is a little behind the times.

Mr L
Mr L

...and I'm sure that you will find several supporters for your plans right here. Now, speaking for myself, you already know my viewing habits (unless of course, I have my remote programmed to execute channel changes randomly while I am out shopping for more tinfoil hats). I think that's enough. Stay where you belong...outside my home.

John K.
John K.

I agree with the person who said the day they do that is the day I will no longer be a Comcast customer. They already s*ck but that would be the last straw.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

As revenge for this technology, I shall stand in front of my cable box stark naked. The blood curdling screams from outside will notify me if I am being watched.

ProfessorCurt
ProfessorCurt

For what Comcast charges, the camera should point the other direction. I'd be interested in seeing how THEIR executives and managers spend their days! Just to see how they justify the outrageous rates for TV.

rsmith
rsmith

Comcast is a company notorious in our neighborhood for extremely poor customer service and lousy technology. I can't imagine that they'll actually get it to work as they say and will and I won't be surprised if they 'accidently' record the couch potatoes watching whatever is pumped into the home....of course, 'homeland security' will probably request live feeds ... It was only a matter of time, however...

mpellet880
mpellet880

The only camera COMCAST can include with the set top box, must come with a lens cap!

TUFOP
TUFOP

Having been a long time Comcast customer and AT&T before Comcast took those customers over in Chicagoland I would NEVER let any cable company put a camera on my desktop box. I will do without.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

and if I did, I would likely have fun with the 'gestures' a bit before disabling the camera. Or more likely, just switch to the Dish network Or just follow Tony's advice -- LOL I wonder what would happen if everyones living room was the same???

maecuff
maecuff

I don't want anyone to know how badly my living room carpet needs to be swept.

jdclyde
jdclyde

who would have access to the video. How far fetched is it for someone to walk naked past their TV? How about teen kids on the couch when mom/dad aren't home? If captured, that would be illegal video. It is a watchers paradise though.... I wonder, does it only have the camera on while the TV is on, or all the time? Will police be able to log in with a court order?

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

...thank you for your cooperation. Holy 1984 Batman!

brian.mills
brian.mills

The day Comcast puts a camera in my cable box is the day I cease to be their customer (unless they do something equally as stupid between now and then). I have no need for a camera to capture gestures I make towards my television. My remote control works just fine. I have a gesture I'd like to show Comcast, but I don't think they'd appreciate it much. :)

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

or maybe a photograph of someone else's living room :)

jhester
jhester

I love that answer from companies, because on some level, they honestly believe that they can do whatever they want, that ANYTHING goes, as long as someone else is doing it. It really aggrevates me when a company says (regarding some new pervasive technology they're trying to push) "Oh, pffft! We TOTALLY agree that it's a privacy issue, and that's why we're not using it for that! We just want it to improve the accuracy of our advertising!" "Oh! Well...lawl...THAT'S fine, I guess!" It makes me want to shoot someone in the face! >:( And what's really sad - when I'm discussing these matters with friends/family - is how people are so concerned about the government, so focused on what the government itself is doing, and have so blindly associated "Big Brother" with government-only entities, that they've totally missed the fact that "Big Brother" is a two-part system: Private industry, which has all the money, many-power, and is generally free of certain ethical obligations that come with public office, lays the infrastructure (cameras in set tops, more intrusive telecommunication technologies, proliferation of "transparent" wireless technologies, etc). Once it's been there a while, long enough for the general populous to accept it as the status quo and as "safe, and implemented with the most benevolent of intentions: to serve you, the customer, better," any government entity who wishes to leverage that technology for its own gains is totally free to do so. And no one is the wiser. I'm young, not stupid. It's private industry that concerns me the most. Comcast is scary as a company, and ideas like this only underscore that reality. Ferk Comcast. I'll go back to dial-up and poverty-vision! *bites thumb at Comcast*

Tig2
Tig2

Isn't that the point of discussion? To communicate? Mr. Kunkel made the effort to try to clarify the thinking behind the Comcast plan. This tells me two things- first that he has a reasonable concern about his business. And second that he may just be listening to us. As technology professionals, we see things differently than the guy on the street may. Because we have a unique perspective, we are able to reach clear decisions about how our technology is allowed to touch our lives. For all we know, Mr. Kunkel has read our responses and come to the conclusion that this technology shouldn't be made a requirement for all viewers or even that the time is not right for this kind of technology. I, for one, was glad to see his voice join the discussion and hope that you are not the only one to take the opportunity to clearly voice your objections. It can be difficult at best to tell business what our wants and needs are. I think that this thread has done a great job of doing exactly that.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

YOU are likely watching Big Brother, or one of those other reality shows that is so invasive that they practically show people passing gas out of both ends... So maybe they think we LIKE that stuff?

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

when it comes to privacy. Actually, this isa great opportunity to start a web site, dedicated to the multi-purpose uses of Wrigley's delicious gums in the fight for privacy. Example, they can be used to "seal" a door frame so you know if its been opened...

seanferd
seanferd

It is offered on most all Flash.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

Name-calling doesn't change facts. It just doesn't. I'm still free to think. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to swing the old satellite dish around to see what I can pick up for feed channels. :0

herlizness
herlizness

> It's Comcast that's becoming a monster; this thread merely reflects the hope and determination that it will be stopped short

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

I remember a speech given by the former wife of the protagonist about all of the wonderful things bestowed upon ?the people? by the magnanimous corporations since they?d turned over their freedom to them. When you listen to it today, it sounds as thought it could have come straight from the mouth of Hillary Clinton.

WATKINS12
WATKINS12

The real nuts are the ones who don't find an alternative (preferrably satellite, as that is essentially one-way due to federal law. You can bet the phone companies will follow Comcast's lead and implement it, even if Comcast backs off.) Buyers beware of what you getting, as there may be gotchas buried in the product and the small print. Ask questions and demand answers.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Opps! Must have been an accident! ;)

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

Urine trouble if you do that, though...

WATKINS12
WATKINS12

Eric- I hope it isn't really as scary as you make it sound. However, such a capability would give them grist for a really creepy "reality" show. You may be a star without even trying!

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

Face it, we're too busy trying to survive to do much that's interesting to spies and politicians. They, on the other hand, get to do all sorts of things without being spied on - or if they are, most of the time the person spying on them is doing so much illegal stuff they don't dare tell on their buddies. Think the former governer of NY and his successor - they're a LOT more interesting than most of us are! They have time to do drugs, pay expensive hookers for pervy sex, party hearty, hey, let's put the cameras in THEIR set top boxes and get more entertainment than we do from most of what's on TV now...

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

Prozac, the opiate of the masses, frees you from anxiety and worry about all of this, go ahead, feel good, don't worry, be sappy, er, I mean, Happy! Take enough of our marvelous mood altering legal drugs (you get arrested for the illegal mood altering ones) and get the current Approved Personality. Then it won't worry you a bit...

jdclyde
jdclyde

it is "for the common good" or "for the children, grab onto your wallet, because someone is trying to use emotions to control you where thoughts can't. Watch the sheeple get in line, and it takes a village to raise a village idiot.

rmhdsn
rmhdsn

At any time in the past when you traveled on the interstate toll-roads and toll tickets were issued as you got on, the date and time were always stamped on the ticket, and a simple comparison to the exit time and distance could have gotten you (me!!!) ticketed for speeding (I consistently ran 8-10 over). This existed 40 years ago, and I'm just very glad this function wasn't used directly although I have it on good authority that overall speed averages were calculated in large scale studies.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

Cell phones have been used to track people for years. In my case, I am lucky - they just get bored...work, home, supermarket, doctor's, hair cuts, that's it. No thrills or spills or chills and I fall asleep in front of the TV. Hopefully, so will the "spies"...

gsteck
gsteck

"if we are stupid enough (in Illinois) to buy into the IPASS system to avoid using the coin operated tolls, we can now be timed between tools and ticketed for speeding" Tell that to the tens of thousands that consistently do 80 in a 55 on I-355

JCitizen
JCitizen

as I was reading your post; but almost bit it off laughing! Good one Tony!

rmhdsn
rmhdsn

And that would be when? ......or was that "whenever"?

rmhdsn
rmhdsn

And because that phone line is unfiltered, it's fully capable of streaming @ broadband speed. Yeah, right!

jdclyde
jdclyde

try "powdered". Much better than the plain....

rmhdsn
rmhdsn

Kinda like a firewall? With a big "On-Off" switch? How about a signal scrambler, where we inject an encryption cypher of perhaps 256-bits into the data-stream and let them play with that for a while, only to find ultimately that it's replays of old TV shows that we've substituted in place of the live signal? How perversely can we push this? I'm game to play.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

s*****d up ones? (Apologies if that sort of stuff is a no no and I didn't include enough asterisks...)

oleg
oleg

be wewy wewy quiet.

blissb
blissb

We're talking about a company with which nobody is compelled to do business. The "invasion of privacy" issue is, in my mind anyway, moot because customers can choose to move their business elsewhere. In my mind, it's like a monitored security service -- if I'm paying a company to have a microphone in my house, I can't complain when somebody from that company listens to me... essentially I've waived my expectation of privacy. In the same respect, if I'm paying Comcast to put a camera in my home, I can't complain when somebody from Comcast watches me... Now, if some government agency comes in, that's a different story... So the answer is, no we haven't become so fearful as to wave our rights -- but a growing number have become so enamored with convenience that they care less and less about the social and personal costs of those conveniences.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

If they're watching me, they're probably bored out of their tiny little minds and sound asleep by now...

bfpower
bfpower

TV is going to be a thing of the past. I don't even have one (for several reasons, mainly cause I don't want to fill my mind with the crap that's on it, and also cuz I don't think 60 bucks a month is worth it when I can get YouTube for free.). So all that said, a 22" LCD for watching movies is much more economical than a big ol' plasma anyhow.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

They justify their rate increases to cover their exhorbitant executive salaries, perks, and bonuses while they overwork and underpay the regular workers...it's the American way...things would be a lot cheaper if execs weren't so overpaid even when they mess a company up totally.

rascott757
rascott757

...which is why I dumped them as an ISP and Television Service Provider two years ago and have not looked back. Long live FiOS!

jdclyde
jdclyde

Here I have been vacuming it all this time. Never was up on this whole "cleaning" thing, and sucks to find I have been doing it WRONG all this time.... :0 reptile house, now we at least know how you dispose of the evidence.... ;\

Jaqui
Jaqui

video evidence of the shovel being used ]:)

herlizness
herlizness

> Court order?? Who needs a court order anymore? The Patriot Act will cover it, and if it doesn't they'll do it anyway ... national security, you know .. If Comcast wants gestures, I have a few for them at the ready ...

jamesweldinginc
jamesweldinginc

...thank you for your cooperation. Holy 1984 Batman! How about Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 ?

gar123
gar123

All Comcast would have to do is lobby government officials to make blocking cameras with tape a felony. Big brother will find away into your personal life.

Litehouse
Litehouse

Since when does the Wii have a built in camera? It doesn't. It uses IR and another wireless technology in combination with the Wiimote and it's accelerometers. Sounds like Comcast is using some FUD to make their new tech seem "ok".

moose7710
moose7710

I was working at Dish network as a CSR. Someone called in complaining their remote wasn't working. Turns out they had put tape over the IR sensor on their reciever because they thought it was a camera. That was a fun one to troubleshoot. Maybe they weren't so crazy after all.

tgueth
tgueth

That would be my reaction. Tape Or thick black paint!

JCitizen
JCitizen

from one of those flicks! If you mean cloudy thought, that is from sleep apnea. That genre of film was my favorite because as a young man, I loved bleak futurist movies; the better to remind man that if we are not carefull, we could end up that way. If I ever get to collecting movies - that one will be a keeper!

rmhdsn
rmhdsn

Yes, there are Ethical Obligations on all levels of civilized society, but please look at the criminal records of our Senators and Representatives before using that glossy over-simplification as a positive. And what makes you think that the Government hasn't already done it, and the Technology Providers aren't just piggy-backing on the plan? Oops, that may be too paranoid for some! Sorry! Your basic points are valid, regardless, and I don't want to diminish their value by appearing picky.

JCitizen
JCitizen

providing you have a patch of sky to point the dish. The deals have become very competitive in our market anyway.

Tig2
Tig2

I knew that you had read Mr. Kunkel's post and I read your reply to it as being a very good thing. We actually got their attention and this was a great opportunity to tell them (Comcast and others too) what WE want instead of being told. I really appreciate that you came back to the thread and clarified in more detail what you think. Also- I appreciate it any time someone takes the time to read what I write. Thank you for that as well. Finally, I hope that you didn't read my reply to you above as being snarky. That certainly wasn't what I intended in the slightest.

WATKINS12
WATKINS12

Gee, TiggerTwo- I must appologize to you both. I really read the communication from Mr. Kunkel to which I responded as trying to justify the use of the technology with little regard to the consequences to the customer. Yes, there did seem to be some reticence toward using it in the near term, but he did not rule it out in the long term. My opinion was that he should. At least until he can get government approval and a free ride from lawsuits and prosecution such as is proposed for the spies at the phone companies. The other point is that I don't need him or anyone else to make choices for me. I pay for my tv service and expect to receive all programs that are included in my "package". Ala carte selection for subscriptions would be more preferable than having the provider make the choices. That would clear out all the garbage for which we pay and do not use. The package approach violates the free-market concept to the extreme by having the viewer support channels and networks that they would never watch. But that is another issue for another day, I suppose.

JCitizen
JCitizen

strange and/or perverted into the camera port that would be pure balderdash just to confuse their statistics. HA! :^0

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

aluminum foil hat club? We can meet to discuss hat design, faraday improving properties for said designs, and best quality foil to use. My personal rant is that foil today lacks the strength and conductivity of the foil I used as a kid. Joking aside, Im right there with you on this.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

Because the idea of a set top box camera blows so bad, if you put bubble gum over it you would probably get bubbles...

eric.reinholt
eric.reinholt

Probably scarier. (chuckle) I wouldn't mind being a reality star, as long as it was popular enough!

rmhdsn
rmhdsn

I've got a really crazy idea! Let's take the the House and Senate TV channels one giant step further. Let's call for all of our elected Federal officials to have live cameras installed in all their homes and offices first, so that we can be fully and properly assured that this is indeed all "for the Public Good". When that implementation makes us happy, then and only then, would we allow the same systems in our own homes.

JCitizen
JCitizen

but all the ones I am aware of are working hard to get competition; by hook or by crook if need be. And they only have one telephone service also!

blissb
blissb

Truth is, I didn't realize there were any places left that didn't have other options. In my area, I can get TV service from Brighthouse, Verizon, DirectTV, Dish Network... possibly others I don't know about... (not Comcast, incidentally -- they refer customers to Brighthouse) Even so -- I'm not sure I would agree that cable TV provides the same critical service as the telephone system does, so I stand by the sentiment of my statement.

Mr L
Mr L

...and remember that satellite service is a viable alternative, ala DirectTV. Of course, it may be moot if all of the players decided (assuming Comcast ever really does something this ridiculous) that this was a great idea and they all introduced it.

mikesnewname
mikesnewname

"We're talking about a company with which nobody is compelled to do business. The "invasion of privacy" issue is, in my mind anyway, moot because customers can choose to move their business elsewhere" Just as, back in the days of the Ma Bell monopoly, they could take their business to another phone company? Which part of "exclusive franchise" as it applies to cable providers is beyond your comprehension?

maecuff
maecuff

Why would I kill an ex? If I dislike someone, the LAST thing I would want to do is kill them. Where's the fun in that? Emotional torture. That's where the entertainment is found.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

Your Exes should not be in the house when you do this :0 Also, make sure it 'looks' like an accident :)

jdclyde
jdclyde

And the best thing is, I don't even have to say it..... :p

maecuff
maecuff

the house. It just takes a pack of matches and some accelerant. The whole job is done in a matter of hours with very little effort on my part. Of course, there's the whole change of address thingy to deal with at the post office afterwards, but that only takes a few minutes.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

its not new ammunition. You have already stated repeatedly that you were as old as dirt. So, no explanation is needed :^0 :x

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

to sweep as well. Just drop the setting a bit and use it to sweep, then you dont need more than 1 tool to do multiple things. And since stuff is growing from the carpet/kitchen floor, it makes sense to use a powered object to take care of it (especially when the floor thingy's move around rapidly). So Mae, how is the lawn mower/vacuum project going?

maecuff
maecuff

Don't give JD ammunition!!!!! What's wrong with you, girl? And yes, that's where it came from. My mother would always ask me to run the sweeper and it's just kind of stuck with me. :)

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

were at one time called [i]vacuum sweepers[/i]. Of course one needs to be old as dirt to remember this... :D

maecuff
maecuff

You should KNOW the answer to this. My broom is my mode of transportation.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I always swept with a broom and vacumed with a vacume. :p So, if you sweep with a vacume, do you vacume with a broom? ;\ [i]~gives this dying horse one last kick...

maecuff
maecuff

I sweep it with the vacuum. Sheesh.

maecuff
maecuff

And really, the carpet not being swept is the least of my living room worries. My two boys have turned the living room into a reptile house. 3 aquariums that hold a total of 4 lizards and a chubby frog. It's just getting creepy. Oh, and there's a cricket habitat also..that way, they can buy a bunch of crickets in advance and feed the crickets food that will eventually give the lizards and frog the vitamins they need. They buy these freaky looking calcium coated crickets that look like ghosts. I don't mind the gecko, but the long tailed lizards look too much like snakes.

RAYZ0R
RAYZ0R

You certainly are clueless. Do you actually think the average citizen would have access to the huge amount of data about who is being spied on using the Patriot Act? What would make you even dream that the government would make that information available? Even if the information were available, one person could never sort through it all in their lifetime. The government will never willingly make their spying information available to the masses. They pretty much do as they please, especially when you are referring to the Bush administration, who feel they are above the laws.

JCitizen
JCitizen

far in one direction. It could all go too far if things don't balance soon. I think we will see some rebalancing after the next election if the Dems win. Not that I'm a Democrat but the feeling that the political swingarm is stuck too the far right is compelling. I just wish the candidates were more moderate instead of less.

WATKINS12
WATKINS12

Definitely, but cash under the table is probably working better. Anyone familiar with Clinton's Banking Privacy Act, which gives your information to any "affiliate" of your bank at no extra charge to you? The use of "certain other" in the agreements are a source of bemusement. How about HIPAA? The only one protected from your information is you, yourself. You sign away all rights in order to get medical treatment. If the Supremes act at all, I doubt it will be in favor of the people. Government and Big Business are too intertwined.

bamyclouse
bamyclouse

...a home kit to build a Cone of Silence? Remember, just because you're paranoid, doesn't meant they're not out to get you... I want to work for the government! Sheesh, they really DON'T have anything to do, do they? I mean, where I work, I have so many jobs to do I couldn't begin to think about snooping or gossiping, I don't have the energy!

JCitizen
JCitizen

The checks are leading to investigations and calls for legislation, and suits to bring issues to the Supreme Court to make decisions on the constitutionality of certain aspects of the act.

yellow911
yellow911

have you actually READ the patriot act legislation, in it's entirety ?....i am not a u.s. citizen, but what YOU guys do affects my country, so it is in my interest to know. frankly, it is not nice. it would appear that, in in the name of fighting terrorism, you have given up many of the checks, balances and "freedoms " you are fighting terrorists to maintain. it certainly is "catch 22" in action. as an outside observer, with no axe to grind( and, no, i don't hate america either) my observation is that your present government observes the "whatever it takes" methodology and you would be naive to think otherwise.

herlizness
herlizness

> have you ever actually read the Patriot Act or even ONE judicial opinion applying it, jerkenheimer? Tell me the sections of the US Code where the Act can be found. As you like to say, ball is in your court.

Mr L
Mr L

...and if audio ever gets added to the mix, the list of possible slope scenarios goes through the roof. There would never again be a safe hypothetical conversation on any controversial topic in your own home...unless, of course, you built a space you used to hide from your TV. :)

dawgit
dawgit

Sounds like a super business plan. I'm going into the "Clue Selling Business" :^0 Investments welcomed. :D -d

fractalzoom
fractalzoom

Here's a very plausible, non-paranoid scenario of sliding down this slippery slope... 1. Comcast implements their home camera scheme. Thousands of these units are deployed to households across America. 2. Initial strict security policies at Comcast mollify the users. Nothing happens, people relax. 3. Someone at Comcast happens to observe a criminal act through a home camera. It's a truly heinous crime - maybe it's child abuse, maybe it's a murder, but it's something that is clearly unacceptable. 4. A debate ensues at Comcast over what should be done with this video information. Maybe they decide it's their civic duty to report these events to the authorities and they do so. Maybe they decide they can't report it, and instead an offended Comcast employee leaks the story to the press. 5. Nancy Grace gets hold of the story, and takes the stance that Privacy concerns are overruled by Civic Protection. 6. A precedent is set, and suddenly images beamed in from home cameras are no longer protected..."In the Public Good." It could totally, totally happen, in gradual stages...

jdclyde
jdclyde

[i]The letters have been in use since the 1980s, but their use was dramatically expanded by the Patriot Act in 2001. The Patriot Act allows the government to threaten recipients of the letters with criminal prosecution if they reveal to anyone that they have received the letters.[/i] Hmm, don't WARN people that they are being spied upon sounds like common sence, huh? The only thing that I was in the articles that has changed on the process that has been in use for three decades now. Even the NSA vs ACLU was a case brought about by people that WERE in contact with people outside the nation, and THINK they were monitored because of their activity. [i]But in July 2007, the 6th Circuit overturned that decision. The ACLU asked the Supreme Court of the United States to consider the ruling, but in February 2008, the Court declined to review the challenge[/i] It leads me to a simple question, how can you claim damages if you don't know if you have been damaged or not? Something you should remember as a basic point in law, if YOU take someone to court, YOU have to prove your case. Something ACLU lawers should know by now. Yeah, site the ACLU website. Nothing unbiased there.... At least you didn't link to moveon.org... yet.

Leslie_LH
Leslie_LH

You're welcome! And I want to say sorry for the years, it should be 2003-2006. As for the secretive nature of the courts, it creates a huge problem for anyone to prove they've been spied on without a warrant. One law firm was accidentally sent proof, and can't even use the document in court! http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/17/washington/17nsa.html http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2007/07/haramain_appeal http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/03/72811?currentPage=all

blissb
blissb

Thanks Leslie for pointing out some excellent examples... As noted in the other similar thread, below... My favorite, though is the decision by the 6th circuit (recently upheld by the SC) in the case of ACLU vs NSA, that says the plaintiffs have no standing to challenge because the program under which they would have been wiretapped is secret, therefore they cannot prove they were wiretapped, because that would reveal the secret wiretapping that, as you know didn't happen because they can't prove it... because it's secret... oh, sorry... I'm being paranoid again... silly me... http://www.aclu.org/safefree/nsaspying/index.html

Leslie_LH
Leslie_LH

That should be 2003-2006. Doh!

blissb
blissb

Thanks to the others who pointed out several examples... My favorite, though is the decision by the 6th circuit (recently upheld by the SC) that says the plaintiffs have no standing to challenge because the program under which they would have been wiretapped is secret, therefore they cannot prove they were wiretapped, because that would reveal the secret wiretapping that, as you know didn't happen... because they can't prove it... because it's secret... oh, sorry... I'm being paranoid again... silly me... http://www.aclu.org/safefree/nsaspying/index.html

Leslie_LH
Leslie_LH

There's not just one. There are thousands. And one was denied by FISA as it would violate someone's First Amendment rights - and the FBI went ahead and did it anyway. So ridiculous. Just 2006 and 2007: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/13/fbi.nsl/ http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080316-progress-on-national-security-letters-has-been-slow.html http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-03-28-fbi-security-letters_N.htm http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/20/AR2007032000921.html

gcasey
gcasey

I don't care what they say their purpose is. The moment it happens is the moment I cancel my service. What makes them think they have the right to invade my home, my privacy? Because they're Comcast. I'm already unhappy with Comcast. I think they charge an exorbitant price for their service. Their customer service is anything but customer service. This would be all the motivation I need to go elsewhere.

jdclyde
jdclyde

you make an assertion, and pass it off as fact, even though you are unable to back it up with ANYTHING? Thank you for answering my question. Clearly paranoid wins out today. Sure, there are people that are in contact with suspected terrorists in other countries that have/may have been listened to and are trying to bring cases up in court. I haven't heard of ANY of the cases brought by the ACLU regarding communications of Americans to Americans, here in the states. Such would be the case as the lunitic rantings that the Patriot Act would give the police access to the Comcast cameras to look in on the common citizen.

blissb
blissb

Since that information is not available due to it's sensitive nature as a "threat to national security"... So, you're right -- despite the best efforts of the ACLU, I can't prove that it's happened. However -- if you believe illegal spying on US citizens by our own government hasn't happened, then pray tell why is the administration so intent on providing litigation protection to the telephone companies who assisted in warrantless wiretaps on American citizens? [edited to correct spelling]

jdclyde
jdclyde

Please site a specific case then showing where an american citizen, that is in the US, that is NOT in contact with a known terrorist organization, has been spied upon using authorizations from the Patriot Act. Not "could have" or "might have". Show me who it is that is being paranoid (you) or clueless (me). Ball is in your court, hit it where you may.

jdclyde
jdclyde

showing where an american citizen, that is in the US, that is NOT in contact with a known terrorist organization, has been spied upon using authorizations from the Patriot Act. Not "could have" or "might have". Show me who it is that is being paranoid (you) or clueless (me). Ball is in your court, hit it where you may.

blissb
blissb

Sorry -- but if you really believe that you're the one being naive.

Mr L
Mr L

...but do you think that maybe he was implying that with the government's proven track record of abusing its powers this would be a likely target for more of the same? He's not being a retard, and certainly seems to have a better grasp of government behavior than...say...for example...you.

jdclyde
jdclyde

The Patriot Act does NOT cover this. Grow up and buy a clue.

TUFOP
TUFOP

Nineteen Eighty-Four was written in 1949

nancyjones36507
nancyjones36507

I doubt they could make that happen. Comcast isn't in the national defense business, they're in the entertainment-delivery business. They'd have a hard case getting that one by the Supremes.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

I added the picture reference. Maybe a picture of a big hairy butt! :) (but then I'd probably be targeted with Preparation H ads :( )

Tig2
Tig2

You're right- that was good! Never thought to look at YouTube when I was looking for information this morning. Doh!

Tig2
Tig2

I couldn't find anything definitive about the way that Wii uses gestures but thought that the official "gesture technology" statement by Comcast might be FUD. Thanks for clarifying!

notsofast
notsofast

IR bounces all over the place. Youcan point your remote at the back of your room (or the side) and it will likely hit your box....if you put something in front of it that blocks direct view, but not reflected signals, you could still have privacy....of course why use cable. Satellite is better.

xyxx1
xyxx1

If it was a utility like water, electricity, or sewage there may be a problem. We don't need tv so close the account. They already know that someone in the house is watching specific programs; although they may be fooled, because there is a tendency in my house for the tv to be on all day saturday even though no one may be watching it. I believe that Comcast knows now that they lose customers if they put cameras in their box.

fatman65535
fatman65535

Actually, I have a permanent solution: [b]A SLEDGEHAMMER!!!!!![/b]

bfpower
bfpower

This is ridiculous. It is IN NO WAY about the customer. Did you catch it? They can tailor ADS to the customer. It's about selling more ads for higher prices.

frylock
frylock

What if they stick the camera in with the remote sensor? Might not be able to cover the camera without interfering with the remote operation.

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