Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Xbox Kinect Cameras and Smart TVs - Who is Watching Whom?

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Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

Back in April, I wrote an article entitled, “CIA Home Invasion: Smart TVs and the ‘Internet of Things,’” where I detailed the roll-out of the then-new Samsung LED HD Smart Tvs and the inherent dangers that lay therein.

At the time, the dangers related to the televisions were the fact that these new TV sets came fitted with their own built-in cameras and microphones, thus making the potential for remote spying intensely more acute. Coupled with a virtually simultaneous announcement by then-CIA Director David Petraeus that, due to the increase in the amount of household gadgets which are capable of being controlled by apps, the CIA would soon be able to read these devices via the Internet or radio waves outside of the home, the release of television sets with built-in cameras and microphones, some of which are attached to the Samsung cloud, should have been a cause for much alarm.

Unfortunately, the new Big Brother TVs were not met with serious skepticism nor did they even draw significant ire of privacy proponents. After all, what would the CIA or a corporation gain by watching you in your living room? Why would the government want to see you sinking lower into the couch? They have much more important things to do, right?

Aside from the obvious implications regarding the destruction of basic privacy or even the open desire held by governments and intelligence agencies to actually build a Total Information Awareness Network, one would find it difficult to find a manner in which cameras and microphones attached to one’s television would make the viewing experience any better.

Nevertheless, as I have stated in many other articles relating to the erosion of privacy under the guise of greater convenience, it seems that any level of perceived expediency is enough to justify the shredding of anonymity in the minds of the general public.

Unfortunately, as the little bit of privacy that still exists continues to be auctioned off for entertainment and ease, it seems the remaining shreds of personal secrecy are fetching a still lower price even now as they are growing more and more scarce.

This is because, even though the average member of the public is willing to trade the most basic freedoms for the most infantile reasons, the entertainment they are now receiving in return has itself been devalued to the point where it is virtually nonexistent.

Take, for instance, the perceived benefit of buying a television with an embedded camera and microphone. How a company would be able to “personalize the experience” for individual users was always somewhat unclear. However, it sounded like it would be an improvement, so masses of people flocked to the new technology out of basic snob appeal, as well as an unwavering desire for more and more luxurious entertainment.

Yet, in an ironic twist of fate, the technology that was allegedly developed to improve the television watching experience is threatening to encroach upon it.
Although not directly part of the new Samsung TV sets; the Xbox Kinect cameras, a similar technology, are now being pushed by Microsoft to act as policemen for copyright fascists and major movie firms.

Indeed, according to a recent report by Mic Wright of The Telegraph, if Microsoft’s latest patent application is approved, the Kinect camera will be turned “into a snitch for movie studios, reporting back just how many friends you’ve got in your living room and what they’re watching.”

For those who might be under the impression that the above description of the patent proposal is too far-fetched, the proposed patent actually reads, “The users consuming the content on a display device are monitored so that if the number of user-views licensed is exceeded, remedial action may be taken.”

Wright states, “If put into practice, Microsoft’s plan could mean that the film you’re watching suddenly stops playing if it detects that you’ve got more people squashed on the sofa than the licence allows. You’d then be prompted to buy a more expensive licence to keep watching.”

“It’s that blatant,” writes Wright, “a system to spy on private viewing habits.”

Of course, those of us who first read of the Samsung Smart TVs mentioned earlier in this article already knew that the embedding of cameras and microphones was a Big Brother surveillance system. Apparently, the fact that governments, corporations, and intelligence agencies are openly stating a desire to monitor each and every person in the world -- complete with the installation of Orwell’s famous interactive TV sets -- is not a concern. What is a concern, however, is that one will be charged for the television experiences one previously was able to enjoy for free.

Recognizing the obvious parallels himself, Wright continues by saying, “It’s as if Big Brother had built 1984’s Telescreen not to monitor the population but to ensure no one was pirating the Two Minutes of Hate.”

Unfortunately, Wright’s analogy is backwards. In reality, it’s as if Big Brother had built 1984’s Telescreen to monitor ever single member of the population and decided to charge them extra for the pleasure.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 175 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 


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Nemetron 2000 said...

This is why I hope my current television doesn't break down on me anytime soon (not that I have it on most of the day anyway), because I really don't want to go through the trouble of trying to find a television that's not going to spy on me while I masturbate.

The irony of all this is that the tumbling economy will make the purchase of these "Smart TVs" a luxury, so the only people the elites will be spying on will probably be themselves.

Anonymous said...

I sell tvs...smart tvs are getting dirt cheap

Anonymous said...

I had my Kinect for about three hours before I got weirded out by all the pics it was taking of me.... It went right back to the store.

Anonymous said...

Glad I have an old console; it works beautifully. When it breaks, that's it. I won't be buying another.

Anonymous said...

right on. the mass consumer trash class/es, hey, I bet maggotsft has an app for that called pirates of the (your adjetive here, >_<)

Anonymous said...

Cable TV has been used to spy on viewers for decades and a some digital set top boxes have built in cameras as was shown on YouTube.

Anonymous said...

Well ...a former intellegence agent who couldn't ever say what he did gave a friend a warning one day. "don't watch television. what ever you do, just don't watch tv."

I wonder just what he knew then (many years back).

glorious rainbow utopia said...

Here is the model numbers of the samdung big brother teevees comrades:

The models with this unprecedented feature set are the 2012 8000 series plasmas PN51E8000, PN60E8000, PN64E8000 and LED models UN46ES7500, UN50ES7500, UN55ES7500, UN46ES8000, UN55ES8000, UN60ES8000 and UN65ES8000. Many of these models are now at dealers with the rest scheduled to ship within the next few weeks.

Anonymous said...

this article warns about the possibility of cameras etc in smart tv's then has 2 adverts for the latest 3d and smart tv, ahem!!!! i am confused

Anonymous said...

A bit of a run down regards where the camera lenses are located would be good , stick a bit of tape over it, a mate of mine did that with his Ipad but that one is easy to find. I install split system A/CONS and run into a new panasonic a few weeks back with some extra teminals and lite wires not for carrying any sort of amperage , made some enquiries and found out that down the track it could be fitted with a module that can be controlled by youre smart meter, dictating what temperatue you can have and indeed turn it off alltogether , refrigerators are going the same way. I'm just trying to keep my old stuff going , if my flat plasma dies [older one anyway] I'll go back to my wide screen cathode ray tube, I'm only after the odd decent doco', the rest of it's crap, have a good weekend folks........ Dave in Ozz

Anonymous said...

ive been saying that tv viewing is a was for big bro to keep an eye on you for YEARS but everyone just thought i was parinoid...lol

Anonymous said...

People are too addicted to give up their TVs [shame] but having serial numbers and an article on possibly how to disable would be nice. Also if you have not received a smart meter on your house yet ; put a lock box cage over the old one and support local efforts to stop them. Monitoring,hacking, health effects and bills going up NOT down are all reasons to avoid this.

Anonymous said...

Because advertisements come up based on what you're looking at. Thats my guess.
For example if I decide to look at an article or a webpage about fishing chances are there will be advertisements for fishing supplies on there. Its all marketing. The advertisement thinks you're looking for a new tv. Likely because you're looking at an article about television sets. So the advert is probably saying "oh! You seem to be online looking at information about television sets! Let us help you with that! Browse our new smart tvs on sale now!" or however they say it." like how when using google the words you type in effect the results you get or how on youtube there are tags? Same type of thing here. Im just guessing cause ive noticed a pattern with online advertising.

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