Surveillance

Verizon Patents TV Box That Watches and Listens to Viewers

The better to target advertising

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Verizon has filed a patent for a DVR that can watch and listen to the goings-on in your living room. In the application, the company proposes to use the technology to serve targeted ads appropriate to whatever you're doing in the, uh, privacy of your own home—fighting, cuddling, or hanging out with your cats.

Verizon is far from the first company to think of this unassailably creepy use for a set-top box. Comcast patented similar monitoring technology in 2008 for recommending content based on people it recognizes in the room; Google proposed yet another patent for Google TV that would use audio and video recorders to figure out how many people in a room are watching the current broadcast.