I'm sure many readers are familiar with 'Big Brother', the fictional dictator from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The book's catch-phrase 'Big Brother is watching you' has become an idiom in its own right.
Now comes news that Verizon has applied for a patent that dramatically expands commercial surveillance of consumers. CBS reports:
Verizon has filed a patent for targeting ads that collect information from infrared cameras and microphones that can detect the amount of people and types of conversations happening in customers’ living rooms.
. . .
FierceCable first publicized the Verizon patent that gives examples of the DVR’s acute sensitivity in customers’ living rooms: argument sounds prompt ads for marriage counseling, and sounds of “cuddling” prompt ads for contraceptives.
. . .
There are several types of sensors can be linked to the targeted advertising system. These include 3D imaging devices, thermographic cameras and microphones.
Users are also given the option to link their smartphones and tablets to the detection system to directly increase its sensitivity.
“If detection facility detects that the user is holding a mobile device, advertising facility may be configured to communicate with the mobile device to direct the mobile device to present the selected advertisement. Accordingly, not only may the selected advertisement be specifically targeted to the user, but it may also be delivered right to the user’s hands,” the Verizon application states.
There's more at the link.
Couple this with:
- Cable TV companies monitoring their viewers' habits; and
- Microsoft's patenting of a method to use its Kinect game controller as an anti-piracy tool, 'spying' on users and possibly restricting their use of downloaded, licensed media;
and you have an almost complete . . . not so much invasion as destruction of privacy. For Heaven's sake, who in the world thinks it could possibly be appropriate for a company to know you're kissing your wife right now, and instantly target you with a condom advertisement?
I'm sorry, but this 'Big Brother on steroids' is simply sickening. If this is tolerated by society, what hope is there for any sort of social discretion, manners or culture - other than that of the gutter, of course?