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back to article Intel's new TV box to point creepy spy camera at YOUR FACE

Intel has confirmed it will be selling a set-top box direct to the public later this year, along with a streaming TV service designed to watch you while you're watching it. The device will come from Intel Media, a new group populated with staff nicked from Netflix/Apple/Google and so forth. Subscribers will get live and catch-up …

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Big Brother

Re: Tape

If you close the shutter, or otherwise cover the camera, the service will still work as normal, but your name and address will be quietly added to a watchlist of people who have something to hide and therefore something to fear.

Then, the next time you go through an airport or a passing cop looks up your numberplate, you'll find yourself being "randomly selected" for some reason...

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Re: Tape

What was that a sci-fi fim where all the walls were TV screens and the adverts paused and a shrill note was sounded if you didn't look at them?

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Happy

Re: Tape

Ha! I'll see your cupboard and raise you a garage.

MythTV server, network receiver are well out of the way and there isn't a TV in the house.

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Big Brother

Re: Tape

Even cheaper - don't buy one

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Re: Tape

It will of course be controlled mechanically while being UV- or IR-transparent and there will be a sensor reporting the status back to Big Brother Central: Everybody knows that the "good stuff" will be happening when the camera is "closed"!!

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Re: Tape

Try black nail polish. It looks better and lasts longer.

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Re: Tape

That was one of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror shorts. If you tried to look away, it moved to the wall you were looking at and if you closed your eyes it ordered you to open them, with the shrill noise playing.

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Headmaster

Re: Tape

These sensors also sense infrared (heat) and even though they can't "see" you they can still map your movement (if any).

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Big Brother

Re: Tape

You're right about that, Peter! When my company shipped my upgraded laptop to my home office, the first thing I did was tape up the camera lens. I don't think they'd actually spy on me, but you just never know. Is that paranoid? Also, even if my company doesn't film me without my consent/knowledge, who is to say the government doesn't somehow scan for cameras and turn them on to watch us? I just don't trust the government. ESPECIALLY with the Great Pretender in the White House...its increasingly obvious that they see us as a mob that needs controlling.

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Meh

Re: Tape

Nope...Democrat-shaped...

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Stop

Wish I could find this ad ...

read this, and it reminded me of an ad I saw in an advertising trade journal about verified viewing figures. It had a couple "making out" on a sofa in front of the TV with the great slogan:

"Whos screwing who ?"

IIRC it was an ad for a market reseach company.

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Re: Wish I could find this ad ...

Yes, I remember that one. "Making out" rather effectively conceals that the couple in question were at it like rabbits... The advertiser was basically saying that if you were relying on these figures, you had to remember that a significant fraction of your audience (at more or less any time of day) would not be paying the slightest attention to the TV, and specifically to the ads. They might use the ads as an opportunity to visit the small room, or to go to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, or to gabble witlessly on the phone while staring at nothing in particular, or, indeed, to hump like rabbits. Whatever they are doing during the ad slots, they *aren't* looking at the ads, and they probably aren't even listening, but the "verified" figures would show that they were.

I also recall a study where some ratings agency or other, possibly Neilsen, installed cameras in the respondents' set-top boxes (with permission, duh) to watch them. They found a disturbing quantity of empty rooms, people doing aerobics (with or without clothes) with their backs to the TV, necking and full-on sex; all in all, there was significantly less watching of the programming and/or ads than reported.

Advertisers would do well to pay attention to these ideas...

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Anonymous Coward

Intel has struggled to get people to buy their chips for set-top boxes and where they have made deals it looks like they aren't getting repeat contracts because it is such a pain. So I suppose it makes sense for Intel to make their own box, because no one else wants to.

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Are Intel deliberately trying to produce the least successful product in history here?

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Paris Hilton

6079 Tastic, J!

"Yes, you! ...You can do better than that. You’re not trying. Harder please!”

Chatroulette meets 1984.

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Big Brother

If it doesn't move...

... or doesn't connect, and it should: WD40.

If it moves or connects or needlessly spies on you, and it shouldn't: Gaffer tape.

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Anonymous Coward

Not the first time Intel have tried to get into the living room. Remember Viiv...?

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WTF?

The name rings a bell, but I can't remember wtf it is.

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Silver badge

That's why you want open source

I mean a camera can have its advantages. For example you can video phone or you can have the device lower the volume when you are doozing off, etc.

However you don't want to have to trust a company like Intel to not abuse this power. That's why you want to have open source. Software which is transparent, which you, any everybody else can examine and change. And if _you_ don't like it, you can use an alternative version.

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Facepalm

Re: That's why you want open source

"you, any everybody else can examine"

Right - I'm sure that Joe Average is going to ssh into his set-top box, untar the source, and use grep and vim to dig around through the tens or hundreds of thousands of lines of various libraries and image processing code to make sure nothing untoward is going on while he watches the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with his college buddies.

Open source has its advantages, but it inspires an almost unquantifiable level of disbelief that so many evangelists seem to think that regular people are going to 'examine and change' phenomenally complex software that was engineered by hundreds of people in different companies over many months or years.

On the one hand, techies (perhaps or perhaps not including the OP, out of fairness) roundly criticize Mr. Average for his stupidity in wanting to watch the drivel on TV, and mock him for his inability to handle simple tasks like setting up an email server - while on the other, they whip around 180 degrees and expect Joe to perform the work of several experienced software engineers, on a whim, just in case.

We do not - I repeat, do NOT - live in some kind of wild-eyed utopia where normal people are knocking back a few brewskis, shooting the shit about their exes ("exes", not ".exes", people; buckle your trousers), and combing through source code, valiantly protecting their rights from corporate hegemony. People will not do this. And you, gentle reader - no matter how kick-ass of a sysadmin you are, you're not going to do it either. When was the last time you wrote a new feature into OpenOffice or checked around to make sure its updater isn't siphoning personal information off somewhere? Yeah - half past never, I'll wager.

It's a fantasy - and worse, a fantasy that damages the credibility of anyone advocating it from the perspective of people who live in the actual world.

If you want to convince a normal guy that open source is in his interest, please, for the love of God, stop telling him it's because then he can check the source code on his DVR for privacy violations. All you're doing is convincing him that you're a bunch of paranoid freaks.

Oh, and especially don't do it while you're wearing a huge gnu costume.

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Armageddon: The Musical

Strange. I read Robert Rankin for laughs, not for prophecy.

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What is the real reason?

"US isn't ready for entirely à la carte options and that Intel will be selling bundles of content"

- The content companies want to bundle crap with the good stuff.

or

- Intel wants to bundle crap with the good stuff.

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I'm really surprised that no commenter here has said it----Just don't buy it-------All you people have said is if,if if. If a frog has wings,he wouldn't bump his ass every time he jumped. If the camera bothers you,DON'T FU(KING BUY IT. See,simple. Problem solved.

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Stop

The problem with that philosophy is

that if enough sheep do buy it that it becomes a market standard, every other company jumps on the bandwagon, and then we have no choice left.

Consider for example what has happened with IT: Apple enjoyed such massive success with the iPad and iPhone, and their attendant walled-garden and restrictive ownership conditions, that every other company is now emulating it - even Microsoft has now jumped on the walled-garden bandwagon with Windows 8, and for those of us who want to remain free of this paradigm, our options are fast running out.

Likewise with Facebook and Twitter; I'm seeing an awful lot of companies wanting to see your social networking profiles as a condition of application for employment. If you don't have one, your employment options are becoming increasingly limited.

Please note this is not to have a dig at Apple or Windows 8 or Facebook per se, but merely to illustrate the principle of how a restrictive, controlling paradigm can become the norm if enough people buy into it.

In the end, when someone says "If you don't like it, don't buy it", what happens when it gets to the stage where you need some version of it to function in modern society? These days, you can't get by in any first-world country without the Internet or a mobile phone; you may hate them, but you can't just "not buy one", because you'll find yourself unable to access essential services without it. Your only other option in such a situation is to go and join an Amish community.

This is why we complain about these sorts of trends - because we know from painful experience that if it remains unopposed, eventually we'll be forced into adopting it by the sheer momentum of mass-market takeup.

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Pint

Re: The problem with that philosophy is

I don't have a twitter or facebook account and have yet to have it be an issue let alone even be asked about it. I suppose my standard answer would be 'I don't waste my valuable time or energy on such trivialities, I have too much to do.." and let any prospective employer work out that. If they won't hire based on that, then they're idiots and as such, one wouldn't want to work there in the first place.

Choices are always available, just that some are less onerous than others.

(Heck, I don't even have a cell phone - a iPhone, yes, but it's got no phone service.. Go figure)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The problem with that philosophy is

"If they won't hire based on that, then they're idiots"

I own a small company, and if someone said that to me, he'd be history - not because he doesn't use Facebook or twitter, but because he's self-centered enough to be unable to consider anyone else's point of view, and flat-out stupid enough to insult what is likely a significant percentage of people around him without even being aware of it (or worse, without caring about it).

Even if I could stomach that attitude personally, I don't need someone in my employ who's likely to walk into an important meeting and in complete ignorance issue an embarrassing and insulting broadside to the partner / customer / investor involved.

I used to think that Sheldon Cooper's baldfaced and utterly un-self-aware arrogance was caricature created for effect, but the more I read on the Reg forums, the more I'm convinced they probably have to water it down to make him seem at all plausible.

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Thumb Down

Oh, Intel!

'He didn't say what the service will be called, but did say that the US isn't ready for entirely à la carte options..."

1. CreeperVision is overwhelmingly appropriate as the name for the new service.

2. The US has been ready for "à la carte options" for decades. It's the providers who can't get their act together.

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Big Brother

Re: Oh, Intel!

He didn't say what the service will be called

It needs to be something big and friendly like your elder brother.

There must be a snappy name out there some where, I'm sure it will come to me.

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Re: Oh, Intel!

Call it the BigBruva v 1.9.8.4

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Gold badge

Re: Oh, Intel!

I'd just re-use "Intel inside"

It's just that "Inside" now refers to your life instead of a PC case.

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Eloi Cam

Intel marketers: "As for our potential customers, a third feel crushed by current level of surveillance economy pwnership and so will just shrug and meekly go along, another third think that allowing a business to surveil their family in their living room is a fair exchange for a more convenient login process, the last third will think they'll be able to circumvent this with a piece of gaffer tape, not stopping to think that we might ever restrict available content based upon what the camera can see. They're in no condition to resist".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Eloi Cam

that struck me as the obvious problem with the gaffa-tape solution... but hey... intercept the damn video stream from camera (raspi, stelaris launchpad, arduino, whatevs) and replace with a static photo, of, say, Mr Huggers.

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Re: Eloi Cam

@Anonymous Coward "replace with a static photo, of, say, Mr Huggers." Heh! :-D

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Eloi Cam

I wonder how often you have to play back a pr0n video with the head of their CEO dubbed in through the video camera feed before they get the point..

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Unhappy

No!

Just, No.

BTW I'm not used to being watched while I'm netsurfing. No camera see, and no intention of getting one.

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Big Brother

Watching you, watching our ads

Watching you watching your ad quota before we give you "free" content. I remember reading about this idea in one of Stephen Baxter's sci fi books.

I like Wize's idea of putting a photo in front of the camera. If the camera detects the static photo hack, then place a cheap android device in front playing a video of people watching TV. If they introduce twin '3D' cameras like MS Kinect then we might be stuffed, and we might actually have to watch adverts!

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FAIL

set TOP boxes??

Surely what with modern tellyboxes being all slimline these days (not like when I was a lad etc. etc.), surely these "set top boxes" are actually going to be placed on a shelf *under* the telly.

If that's the case, all a camera would see in my house would be a close-up of my dog's backside.

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"on-demand television - a business safe from the ARM-based competitors"

umm... I am not so sure.

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Probably U.S. only

Don't worry about it. It's unlikely to be available outside the U.S.

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Creepy indeed

"More controversial is the plan to use a camera on the box to look outward, to identify the faces staring at the goggle box... telescreen-stylie. Intel will use that to present personalised options and targeted advertising, in a process which seems immediately creepy but ...^"

Well, yes, it bloody does ! Am I the only one to think some analisys of behaviour will be done at one point, in order to provide adapted ads ? I don't think this is the number/type of faces they're after ... And surely, the SW will be remotely adapted at whatever is marketable.

And would everyone be really happy to see a porn movie pop out of the screen, with an all-scream lady, when having a good rumpy-pumpy with the Missus ?

I'm not even talking on the said rumpy-pumpy fully sent to porntube ...

Really, who on their right mind, would buy this ???

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Anonymous Coward

I'll show you mine

if you show me hers

Possibilities are endless. Can't wait :(

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Anonymous Coward

the camera will have a physical shutter on the front

do you want to watch the prime content with as much as 10% discount!? Terms and conditions apply, such as... keeping the shutter up (and don't try to be funny by placing a picture of a Terminator in front of it. We DO know who you really are!

Do you want to maintain your current level of council tax, instead of paying a "privacy premium" of 500%? Keep the shutter up!

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Trollface

As I suggested in the previous thread about this - the obvious thing to do is not to put tape over the lens, but rather to point it at something else, most likely another screen showing some kind of video. Serving suggestions:

- Pulp Fiction

- Animated patterns specifically designed to screw with image compression and facial recognition algorithms

- Kaptain Kangaroo

- Those videos that extremists take of their hostages

Target your advertising to that, bitch!

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TRT
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Not a camera...

A finger swipe on the remote, because he (or she) who rules the remote, rules the world (of what you watch on TV).

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Don't act surprised, xbox kinect has been doing this for awhile and no seemed to care (or perhaps be aware that you can easily hack into it to make your own personal spy camera...)

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Big Brother

guess

that camera will put off anyone from watching the pr0n channels .....

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Thumb Down

Charging by person = FAIL

Why do they assume persons present when a show is on are WATCHING IT? That's often not the case.

Show of hands: who has sat beside a TV watcher while reading, knitting, or other activity and totally ignoring the TV? Or had a companion nearby ignoring your TV broadcast? Doing a puzzle on the floor? PLAYING WITH THE DOG?

"Human present" does not equal "Viewer", and is a FAIL model to charge by.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charging by person = FAIL

Well, part of the point of these things is that with the appropriate image processing you *can* tell where someone is looking - and thus whether someone is really watching.

Creepy it may be, but do you really think they went to all that work without considering the first, most obvious issue?

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Re: Charging by person = FAIL

Yeah, I can't wait to see what targeted stream the dog gets =)

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