Cameras in Your Cable Box Watching You in Your Home Watching Television

eye-camera-hed-2013-1Before It’s News – by Lavender Rose

Rather than you watching television, it is they who are watching you! Verizon has recently patented a cable DVR box that will use audio and video to record and analyze what’s going on in your living room so that they can provide targeted ads in real time on the TV to suit what’s going on. Now, one reason may be advertising and marketing, but since they can listen and watch, just think, smile you may be on candid camera! 

It’s worse than you would think: for example, if a couple’s arguing, they’ll show an ad for marriage counseling. Now let’s say a different couple in the neighborhood are on the couch cuddling and trying to enjoy each other’s company, this creepy DVR could show contraceptive ads.  Stranger than fiction?

Verizon’s idea is not the first technology that encroaches on the privacy of families’ living rooms.

Microsoft recently registered a patent for technology to allow its Kinect motion sensor to figure out how many people are in front of it then stop playback if it detected more people than the copyright terms allowed. Google TV proposed a similar patent that would use video and audio recording devices to do the same.

And Comcast in 2008 patented a monitoring technology that would recommend content to users based on people it recognised in the room.  At the Digital Living Room conference, Gerard Kunkel, Comcast‘s senior VP of user experience, mentioned  the cable company is experimenting with different camera technologies built into devices so it can know who’s in your living room.

Verizon’s technology seems to be the first marketing-focused adaptation of the idea to allow the broadcaster to tailor adverts based on what viewers are actually doing.  Nick Pickles, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said:

‘Smart TVs with in-built cameras and microphones are a privacy nightmare waiting around the corner.

‘What is essential is that consumers know exactly what they are buying and where the data is going. The tables could turn and now it’s Google searching your living room for data about you. So creepy.

“This may sound preposterous, but it’s neither a joke nor an exaggeration,” said Mr. Capuano in a statement, AdWeek reported. “These DVRs would essentially observe consumers as they watch television as a way to super-target ads. It is an incredible invasion of privacy.”

Another reason why the switch from analog to digital is taking place, is a more malignant reason, and as reason # 1, most people are not aware of it and they should. Undisclosed sources, experts on reverse technology have informed that any television set manufacture after 1995 has the capability not only to receive a broadcast signal, but to also send one. That’s correct, any television manufactured after 1995 already has a built in feature to send a broadcast signal from your living room of live images of what’s happening in your home.

Comcast has jumped in the ban wagon assisting the NWO by openly admitting that they are installing cameras on their new Comcast cable boxes.  Once you approach your television set, your TV will recognize you and your family members and friends, hey, ring a bell, facial regonition software, give it up – FB!

The company, which makes the microchips found inside most personal computers, has launched an entirely new division, Intel Media, to make and market the Orwellian streaming-television product.  Erik Huggers, vice-president of Intel Media, said the new service would offer users a TV ‘that is much more personal, that learns about you, that actually cares about who you are.’

The camera, Intel claims, will enable them to personalise the interactive features of their product, so that different members of the same household can be served programming and advertising specific to them.

Intel is only the latest company to develop a television product that contains a camera and sensors designed to watch what viewers are up to  U.S. Patent Application 20120304206.

Remember the movie, Back to the Future, when the tv was watching what was going on in the living room and the note came faxed in and said to Michael Fox’s character – YOUR FIRED!  Consumer Beware!  What a great series of films Back To The Future was.  My kind of movie!

Samsung is the company that has the built in cameras

watching you watch tv…

Samsung’s 2012 top-of-the-line plasmas and LED HDTVs offer new features never before available within a television including a built-in, internally wired HD camera, twin microphones, face tracking and speech recognition. While these features give you unprecedented control over an HDTV, the devices themselves, more similar than ever to a personal computer, may allow hackers or even Samsung to see and hear you and your family, and collect extremely personal data.

Samsung UN65ES8000

Samsung is A Spy Machine READ THIS ONE



The new Samsung HDTV has hard-wired camera and microphone, plus face recognition and other unprecedented SPY features.

While Web cameras and Internet connectivity are not new to HDTVs, their complete integration is, and it’s the always connected camera and microphones, combined with the option of third-party apps (not to mention Samsung’s own software) gives us cause for concern regarding the privacy of TV buyers and their friends and families.

Samsung has not released a privacy policy clarifying what data it is collecting and sharing with regard to the new TV sets. And while there is no current evidence of any particular security hole or untoward behavior by Samsung’s app partners, Samsung has only stated that it “assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable” in the event that a product or service is not “appropriate.”

Samsung demoed these features to the press earlier this month. The camera and microphones are built into the top if the screen bezel in the 2012 8000-series plasmas and are permanently attached to the top of the 7500- and 8000ES-series LED TVs. A Samsung representative showed how, once set up and connected to the Internet, these models will automatically talk to the Samsung cloud and enable viewers to use new and exciting apps.

These Samsung TVs locate and make note of registered viewers via sophisticated face recognition software. This means if you tell the TV whose faces belong to which users in your family, it personalizes the experience to each recognized family member. If you have friends over, it could log these faces as well.

In addition, the TV listens and responds to specific voice commands. To use the feature, the microphone is active. What concerns us is the integration of both an active camera and microphone. A Samsung representative tells us you can deactivate the voice feature; however this is done via software, not a hard switch like the one you use to turn a room light on or off.

And unlike other TVs, which have cameras and microphones as add-on accessories connected by a single, easily removable USB cable, you can’t just unplug these sensors.

During our demo, unless the face recognition learning feature was activated, there was no indication as to whether the camera (such as a red light) and audio mics are on. And as far as the microphone is concerned the is no way to physically disconnect it or be assured it is not picking up your voice when you don’t intend it to do so.

Samsung does provide the ability to manually reposition the TV’s camera away from viewers. The LED TV models allow you to manually point it upward, facing the ceiling; the plasma’s camera can be re-aimed to capture objects in the rear of the TV according a Samsung spokesperson.

Privacy concerns
We began to wonder exactly what data Samsung collects from its new “eyes and ears” and how it and other companies intend use it, which raises the following questions:

  • Can Samsung or Samsung-authorized companies watch you watching your Samsung TV?
  • Do the televisions send a user ID or the TV’s serial number to the Samsung cloud whenever it has an Internet connection?
  • Does Samsung cross reference a user ID or facial scan to your warranty registration information, such as name, address etc.?
  • Can a person or company listen to you, at will, via the microphone and Internet connection?
  • Does Samsung’s cloud store all this information? How secure is this extremely personal data?
  • Can a hacker intercept this data or view you via the built in camera?
  • Can a third-party app program do any of the above?
  • Exactly what information does the TV send to Samsung or other parties?
  • Does Samsung intend to sell data collected by its Smart TV owners, such as who, what and when one is viewing?

Companies desiring to provide highly targeted advertisements to you via the TV screen or external marketing would find this data extremely valuable. “Hey, you look a little tired, how about some Ambien? I’m seeing a little grey, have you tried Grecian Formula?  Joe, it looks like you packed on a few pounds recently, here’s information from Weight Watchers. Hey kids, you look bored, look at these TOYS!”

So what, if any, privacy does Samsung promise by way of a stated policy?

Weeks have passed since we formally requested answers to these questions from Samsung asking what if any privacy assurances Samsung provides. To date no privacy statement has been furnished to HD Guru or end users. The first models with these features arrived on dealer’s shelves over two weeks ago. All that we’ve been told is that when connecting to the Internet, the TVs first connect to the Samsung cloud, and from there, they connect to the various streaming video services and other apps for activation.

Samsung induces its new Smart TV owners to register online by offering a free three-month extension of the TV’s warranty. This would couple user names and addresses to their TV serial numbers, if the company so desired.

Want to read the owner’s manual for your new Samsung TV? This is accomplished by download, as Samsung stopped including printed owner’s manuals at least two years ago. However, before you may download the manual, you must first agree to the following online statement:

Samsung assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable, in connection with whether any such products or services will be appropriate, functional or supported for the Samsung products or services available in your country.

We asked Samsung to define “appropriate” but to date have not received a response. We will update readers with a response or a privacy statement if and when Samsung chooses to provide one.

Security Threats

Don’t assume a TV is an un-hackable island! Samsung does not disclose what operating system is within its TVs, therefore we cannot confirm if it is Android and/or any other that might have a prior history of hacking.

It has been widely reported Android phones have been hacked allowing outside control of phones, via third party apps.

Countless companies have had their networks hacked, causing thousands of customers’ personal data to be released to the world. If this were to happen to Samsung it is theoretically possible hackers could gain access to names, addresses — and images of the faces of entire families.

The TV has a built-in Facebook app. Can the TV make the next connection and access your Facebook account and match other viewers to their Facebook pictures for even more personal data?

A Samsung representative said the company is working on apps that will allow its Smart TV owners to turn their televisions into a silent home-security system by allowing remote viewing on a smartphone or tablet via the TV’s built-in camera. This ability makes us ask, “Who else could gain access this video feed?”

There are  security systems that go over the Internet, however, many are encrypted. Is any Samsung’s data encrypted? The company doesn’t say. Generally security companies let customers know when their data is encrypted, as it is a selling point.

In addition, the Samsung HDTVs come with an external infrared blaster that allows users to control a cable or satellite box via voice, gesture or the Samsung remote. We ask: does the TV send this information over to Samsung’s cloud as well? Does Samsung now know what other equipment you have, when you’re home to use it, what channel you’re viewing and when?

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.

With so many questions raised and no answers provided, HD Guru recommends you weigh the possibilities and decide whether or not you care about its unknown personal privacy risks before purchasing one of these HDTVs.

Samsung the big spy machine

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5 thoughts on “Cameras in Your Cable Box Watching You in Your Home Watching Television

  1. It’s high time people got educated about the electronics AND software AND firmware they use. FAILURE to do so will bring down your friends you affiliate around you.

  2. Smart TVs and Smart anything means Big Brother is watching!

    What the hell is wrong with these people? Don’t they care? Why do they want their whole life public? I guess they all just want to be on Jerry Springer. I just don’t get it. I would kill (not literally) for some privacy once in awhile.

    An Austin police officer once time told me that I needed to find a place of my own to vent my frustrations after someone called the police on me because I was mad about something and yelling a little too loud.

    I just looked at him and said, “Take a look around? Name one place that’s private where no one is watching or listening? Just one.”

    The officer thought for a few moments, then just looked at me and smirked, knowing that I was right, as he absolutely could not think of any place at all and just shrugged at me.

    This is what it has come down to people. ZERO privacy. Everything must be public or you are a terrorist. It’s that simple.

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