FAQ :: Can cable companies spy on you through your TV?

Comcast plans to install cameras in its cable boxes to watch subscribers in their homes. At the Digital Living Room Conference in 2008, Gerard Kunkel, Comcast’s senior VP of user experience, said the cable company is experimenting with different built-in camera technologies to identify those in the room.

The box recognizes the subscriber and makes recommendations or pulls up shows already in his profile. If parents are watching television with their children, parental controls could appear to block certain content from appearing on the screen. Kunkel said this type of monitoring is the “holy grail” because it could help serve up specifically-tailored ads. [1]

Eventually, cable boxes, satellite boxes, televisions and computers will have cameras in them that will provide two-way communication. The idea of the government watching people in their homes is as old as George Orwell’s book, 1984, written in 1948 and published in 1949.

The cable companies are training field employees to spy on customers. When they see something unusual they report it to the police department.4

If Big Brother is not spying on you already through your cable box he will be watching you through your laptop, desktop, PDA, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, ThinkPad or whatever computer you have.

[1] Tencer, Daniel, “No criminal charges for school that spied on kids through laptops.” Raw Story . 8.19.2010.
[2] Albrecht, Chris, “Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You” Newtevee.com 3.18.2008.