A Verizon patent idea envisions spying on TV viewers for the sake of serving up related ads. For instance, a couple snuggling in front of the TV could end up getting bombarded by commercials for romantic vacations, flowers or even birth control. The system could also detect a person’s mood or identify objects such as pets, soft drink cans or a bag of chips in a person’s hand, and room decorations or furniture.
Such a patent idea would turn TV set-top boxes into spy boxes with sensors for both seeing and hearing the activity in front of the TV. Many TV viewers already own such set-top boxes to access pay-per-view services, digital video recordings and Internet streaming.
The patent filing even suggests the tracking system communicating with whatever smartphone or tablet a TV viewer might happen to have in his or her hands.…
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