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In Soviet US, Comcast Watches YOU 404

Posted by kdawson
from the you-have-none-get-over-it dept.
cayenne8 sends us to Newteevee.com for a blog posting reporting from the Digital Living Room conference earlier this week. Gerard Kunkel, Comcast's senior VP of user experience, stated that the cable company is experimenting with different camera technologies built into its devices so it can know who's in your living room. Cameras in the set-top boxes, while apparently not using facial recognition software, can still somehow figure out who is in the room, and customize user preferences for cable (favorite channels, etc.). While this sounds 'handy,' it also sounds a bit like the TV sets in 1984. I am sure, of course, that Comcast wouldn't tap into this for any reason, nor let the authorities tap into this to watch inside your home in real time without a warrant or anything."
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In Soviet US, Comcast Watches YOU

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  • Reply from Comcast (Score:5, Informative)

    by d3ac0n (715594) on Friday March 21, 2008 @01:12PM (#22821304)
    For those that didn't RTFA ike I did, AND scan down throught the comments section, Gerard Kunkel, the Comcast rep interviewed in the article, actually posted a reply to the article in the comments section of the website. Here are his comments:

    Chris,

    Your article on "Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You" portrayed some assumptions that require correction and clarification. I want to be clear that in no way are we exploring any camera devices that would monitor customer behavior.

    To gather information for your article on Comcast's exploration of cameras you picked up on my conversation with another conference attendee. The other attendee and I were deep in a conversation discussing a variety of input devices offered by a variety of vendors that Comcast is reviewing.

    The camera-based gesture recognition device is in no way designed to - or capable of - monitoring your living room. These technologies are designed to allow simple navigation on a television set just as the Wii remote uses a camera to manage its much heralded gesture-based interactivity.

    We are constantly exploring new technologies that better serve our customers. The goal is simple - a better user experience that allows the consumer to get ever increasing value out of their Comcast products.

    As with any new technology, we carefully consider the consumer benefits. In fact, we do an enormous amount of consumer testing in advance of making a product decision such as this. I'm confident that a new technology like gesture-based navigation will be fully explored with consumers to understand the product's feature benefits - and of course, the value to the consumer.

    Sincerely,
    Gerard Kunkel


    Hopefully that clarifies things a bit.

    I'm still glad I have TW cable in my area.
  • Kunkel Replies (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Friday March 21, 2008 @01:29PM (#22821528) Homepage Journal
    From the Fine Article's Comment page:
    - - - - - - - - - -
    Chris,

    Your article on "Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You" portrayed some assumptions that require correction and clarification. I want to be clear that in no way are we exploring any camera devices that would monitor customer behavior.

    To gather information for your article on Comcast's exploration of cameras you picked up on my conversation with another conference attendee. The other attendee and I were deep in a conversation discussing a variety of input devices offered by a variety of vendors that Comcast is reviewing.

    The camera-based gesture recognition device is in no way designed to - or capable of - monitoring your living room. These technologies are designed to allow simple navigation on a television set just as the Wii remote uses a camera to manage its much heralded gesture-based interactivity.

    We are constantly exploring new technologies that better serve our customers. The goal is simple - a better user experience that allows the consumer to get ever increasing value out of their Comcast products.

    As with any new technology, we carefully consider the consumer benefits. In fact, we do an enormous amount of consumer testing in advance of making a product decision such as this. I'm confident that a new technology like gesture-based navigation will be fully explored with consumers to understand the product's feature benefits - and of course, the value to the consumer.

    Sincerely,
    Gerard Kunkel
    - - - - - - - - - -

    I despise Comcast, but thought the fellow should at least be allowed to defend himself.

    How ticked off he must be - those meddling journalist types!
  • Re:Already there? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday March 21, 2008 @01:35PM (#22821598) Homepage
    Yes it's NOT there. I have been inside many of the cable boxes. And the "camera" they are talking about is a 32X32 FLIR camera. that way it can detect bodies.

    it's a VP that really knows very little about what he is talking about opening his mouth to the public. it's more of a detector than a camera. We were talking about it at Comcast over 5 years ago when I was a part of that focus group. I cant believe they are still chasing that idea. It does not make the demographic data any more valuable than it already is.
  • Re:Ah well ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by cashman73 (855518) on Friday March 21, 2008 @02:05PM (#22821944) Journal
    Don't worry, Hillary is coming. She doesn't have to spy on you, or get a warrant to search on you. She can just get 2 of her "supporters" and STEAL your passport records...

    As much as I despise Hillary, the passport thing wasn't her fault. CNN is now reporting [cnn.com] that all three remaining candidates have had their passport files breached. So, in other words, it's Bush's fault.

  • by The One and Only (691315) * <[ten.hclewlihp] [ta] [lihp]> on Friday March 21, 2008 @02:42PM (#22822302) Homepage
    Indeed: Italy [wikipedia.org] still elects avowed fascists to high government office far more often than the United States.
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:16PM (#22823878)

    After the recent warrentless wiretap fiasco, it's brutally obvious that this would be abused by some government agency somewhere.


    Was it really such a "fiasco"?

    From what I can see, most people didn't give a damn about the warrantless wiretapping. At least not enough to actually act on their feelings. There was no mob of pitchforks and torches looking for government agents, no collapse of AT&T from mass customer defection (in fact, AT&T has been gaining customers thanks to the iPhone, so this whole thing hasn't effected their business one bot), the telecoms are eventually going to get their retroactive immunity just like they want considering how the bills are flowing in Congress. Every lawsuit is getting stopped at some point either by a "State's Secrets" clause or an appellate court refusing to hear a case. Nothing has happened. All I can see is everyone's too busy watching TV to do anything (making this article rather funny in a sad sort of way).

    People have been more worried about the writer's strike than the wiretapping.
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:10PM (#22824408) Homepage Journal
    Read http://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Fascism-American-Mussolini-Politics/dp/0385511841/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206137228&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]
    You'll learn that the Italian Fascists thought the Nazis more than a little whack, for all they collaborated.
    Oh, and the American Fascist tradition started with Teddy Roosevelt (oops, righties), but jumped to Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and LBJ, and is "carried on smartly" by the left. If you miss that universal health care is a fascist play to control you "for your own good", then the propaganda has indeed worked well.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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