Microsoft Patents In-Home Consumer Monitoring System

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Microsoft Patents In-Home Consumer Monitoring System

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Microsoft has filed a patent for a system that will let it watch consumers to ensure that they're complying with content licensing restrictions.

"Big Brother is watching" hyperbole usually tends to be overblown and knee-jerkish, but it's hard not to go straight to it with regards to Microsoft's patent filing for a system of "content distribution regulation by viewing user." Filed in April 2011 and published on November 1 of 2012, the system literally seeks to watch consumers in their home to ensure that their digital content consumption stays within the rules.

"Content is distributed [with] an associated license option on the number of individual consumers or viewers allowed to consume the content. Consumers are presented with a content selection and a choice of licenses allowing consumption of the content," the abstract says. "The users consuming the content on a display device are monitored so that if the number of user-views licensed is exceeded, remedial action may be taken."

Simplistically, it works like this: Content - say, a movie - is distributed to "consuming devices" in the home, like televisions, set-top boxes or digital displays, along with "an associated license option on the number of individual consumers or viewers allowed to consume the content." The consumer selects a desired license, which could be based on a number of views over time, the number of people who watch it simultaneously or other factors, and then a camera, perhaps not too unlike the one in the Kinect that's already sitting on top of your set, keeps an eye on you and your guests to ensure that the rules are followed.

The system is designed to be able to handle things like people entering and leaving the viewing area, or who are in the same room as the content being displayed but not actually partaking in it. "Once the presentation begins, the users in the field of view may change over the course of the presentation. Users may enter or leave the display area of a display device, for example," the detailed description explains. "The display area for the display device is re-scanned [and] a determination is made as to whether the consuming user count has changed. Again, the content provider based on information provided to the content provider by the display device may [take remedial action]."

It's unlikely that a system like this will come to fruition any time soon, if ever, but it's still creepy as hell. The convenience of digital distribution is nice and will become increasingly commonplace as broadband coverage expands and improves, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. The kind of obscenely invasive monitoring proposed by this patent might be a good place.

Source: USPTO

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This is the third brain hemorrhage I've seen from MS today. JUST. FUCKING. STOP, MS! You ain't impressin' me.

inb4- "At least it's not Google or Facebook, right?"

Not gonna argue this one.

This is the point where we get our tinfoil hats and start building bomb shelters right?

This is definitely something to keep an eye on.... cant trust corporations ever since they decided their people....

It is getting harder and harder to justify NOT pirating these days, which is all kinds of wrong.

Seriously, Microsoft?

simple, Just don't buy that product Microsoft are making.

Welp...

Yeah...

Uh Huh...

I can't even come up with a tangible thought about this. At best its stupid as hell. At worst its a violation of privacy on a creepy level. This is "Putting the dead rats in our drinking water" level of stupidity.

meh, if they ever impliment it I'd just sit back with popcorn and watch them be smashed by the law. Heck in Australia they'd be charged with filming minors without permission, numerous privacy laws etc etc, it'd never be allowed.

And people could pirate the media and never have to put up with any of that. See the problem?

I swear to god this scenario has been thought of as a joke before. Can't remember from what. Think it was Ubisoft's always-online thing eventually morphing into them sending an Agent to watch you whenever you play? Something like that.

Think I'm gonna stop buying Microsoft products. Or at least any Microsoft product that could watch me.

Also, Microsoft, how will this stop pirates? The pirated versions will have this kind of stuff removed, so only people legally buying it will be subjected to it. Do you get off on controlling your customers or something?

This is unjustifiable and laws need to be passed that restricts technology designed specifically for purposes like this. It is not unreasonable that the elderly be given the OPTION of wearing biometric monitors, or sensors in an old folk's home to ensure that they are in good health but a camera/sensor that actively monitors how many people are watching a television. Fuck that noise, besides it is the uses we have not yet thought of that are the more scarier ones.

It's unlikely that a system like this will come to fruition any time soon, if ever...

Yeah, right. I sincerely hope you aren't that naive, Andy. I knew some form of this was coming ever since they announced Kinect. It was just a matter of time. And with Skype monitoring, the NSA's nice little Utah data center, drones, webcameras and GPS on everything, and that article a while back that said the Navy funded research on malware that can send a digital recreation of your surroundings based on cellphone camera images back to however installed it?

Welcome to the future, bitches. Hope you like Orwell's nightmare as much as your government does.

Ugh... I don't think this is quiet the right direction to go ensure your control of copyright material. There are other less violently aggravating solutions.

If this technology makes it into the XBOX 720 I will buy one just so they can film me taking a dump on it. Beware used 720's...

Wait so like I would buy a license to watch a movie but I could only watch it with a set amount of people at a time or something. WTF that sounds horrible.

So I'm watching a movie in the living room and the mrs comes home

"Did you have a good day love? I'm watching a movie so do you mind waiting in the kitchen for 15 minutes until its over?"

haha no thx.

Musicfreak:
Wait so like I would buy a license to watch a movie but I could only watch it with a set amount of people at a time or something. WTF that sounds horrible.

There is nothing horrible here. All is wonderful and light under the paternal gaze of the State. Now go watch your two-minutes hate like a good little lamb. We wouldn't want to spend the night in room 23, would we?

Companies patent crazy ass shit all the time, but they very rarely ever actually do anything with them.

Until they do, I'll just go on not giving a fuck.

...WHY THE FRAK IS NO-ONE IN POWER DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THE LUDICROUS AND ORWELLIAN POWER THAT MEGACORPS HAVE?!?!?!

Hey Microsoft can you see the number of middle fingers I'm giving you?
Hope it doesn't your excede limitations.

Let's say in some nightmarish reality this becomes the norm. What's to stop me just turning the camera around? Or sticking a bit of paper over it?

What. the. hell?

Guess no one is going to buy the next XBOX console generation then...?

Scary shit.

I've read this four times now trying to grasp this brainstorm from MS. My opinion can sort of be summed up as 'I'm sorry, what?'.

As I understand it I could be watching a movie and if the device detects an unauthorised viewer of the content say a visitor or knowing MS the family pet and then can it block the content. A bit too far with privacy invasion there Microsoft. Still if this ever actually happens get me some mannequins and some googly eyes, and let us see how easy it is to screw with.

Also remember MS some people get up to some really weird stuff when in private, is that something you really want to see?

snekadid:
This is the point where we get our tinfoil hats and start building bomb shelters right?

This is definitely something to keep an eye on.... cant trust corporations ever since they decided their people....

According to MIT, Tinfoil hats actually amplify mind-control beams. So better to just build a Faraday cage around that bomb shelter.

Gearhead mk2:
...WHY THE FRAK IS NO-ONE IN POWER DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THE LUDICROUS AND ORWELLIAN POWER THAT MEGACORPS HAVE?!?!?!

The power to file for a patent? Yeah, it's ridiculous I say!

Anyone remember Sony's patent on compulsory ads during games? No? Exactly!
It's a patent, that doesn't mean it's going to get used. In fact, it means that no other company can just implement anything like that willy-nilly without paying immense royalties. That is a good thing!
The pharmacy sector files hundreds of patents yearly for failed products. Some people need to relax and re-read before flipping.

Genocidicles:
Let's say in some nightmarish reality this becomes the norm. What's to stop me just turning the camera around? Or sticking a bit of paper over it?

You wouldn't be able to watch the movie, maybe? That would make the most sense.

Fucking hell. Forcing users to agree to licenses based on the number of people using a product privately? Even limiting the number of uses instead of using a timed basis?
I mean ignoring how stupidly easy it would be to just sit out of view of the camera, this is a massive "fuck you" to all people who purchase from Microsoft.
This ties in to Jim's video this week as well. Instead of focusing on making it's product and services better, Microsoft is money-grubbing. Literally looking for loopholes from which to gain money as if it can barely pay its rent, and isn't a multimillion dollar corporation.

Well, I guess it's just time to strip down naked and vigorously hump a Bill Gates effigy while watching films. What? You gonna fuck me, well fuck you too.

I hope this is a broad patent so I can avoid them like the plague.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
And people could pirate the media and never have to put up with any of that. See the problem?

Yea I see the problem. The consumers are still "pirating" our content. Obviously we need more messages at the beginning of our media to alert people the the illegality of such actions.
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This just in: Microsoft to change name to "Network 23".

If this ever, EVER becomes a reality, then I'll never buy anything from MS again.

What I do in my own home is up to me. If I want to watch a film with anyone else I'll fucking do it.

You can try to resist, but I see a few choices
- become a pirate in your own home and use a camera to tape the thing you're watching, then rewatch it later
- make a costume in form of a chair and put a stocking over your face so the kinect doesn't recognize you
- enter on four legs masked as a big family dog
- take a photograph of your family in front of the tv then hang the photo on a string in front of the kinect camera, shake it every so often so it recognizes movement
- my last idea goes into the violent illegal territory so never mind that

Next thing you'll know they'll limit the number of times you can fondle yourself while watching an adult movie or a the number of times when you can laugh during a comedy, number of tears during a tragic story. Maybe even a Kinect that talks like "Aww, man, what are you watching? Oh, no, no, no way, you pervy bastard."

Has anyone patented 'Piece of paper taped over front of Kinect sensor' yet? I think I'll call it a Privacy Shield.

Scars Unseen:

snekadid:
This is the point where we get our tinfoil hats and start building bomb shelters right?

This is definitely something to keep an eye on.... cant trust corporations ever since they decided their people....

According to MIT, Tinfoil hats actually amplify mind-control beams. So better to just build a Faraday cage around that bomb shelter.

no wai! I knew the tin foil hat defense was a plot to enable mind control! I should of voted zod for prez.

Hey guys, what's goi--------
*Reads article*
See you later guys!
*Leaves internet*

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