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New DVR will use camera and microphone to target advertisements based on recordings of users

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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A new Verizon patent envisions an application that would target advertisements by filming and recording viewers …

It won't be long before our televisions are watching us.

You don't have to be paranoid or even a privacy expert to find this development a little creepy. Verizon has filed a patent on a new DVR technology that works by filming and recording viewers in order to send them targeted ads through their TV's.

"If detection facility detects one or more words spoken by a user (e.g., while talking to another user within the same room or on the telephone), advertising facility may utilize the one or more words spoken by the user to search for and/or select an advertisement associated with the one or more words," Verizon states in its application,which was first reported by Fierce Cable.

The patent was actually filed by Verizon in 2011 but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office isn't required to release patent filings for 18 months.

And before you dismiss concerns over the new technology, which works as a software application, just consider two of the examples Verizon gives of how its new DVR technology could be used: sounds of couples arguing would trigger ads for marriage counseling while sounds of "cuddling" would prompt ads for contraceptives.

All together, the patent filing listed 20 examples, or "claims," of when the DVR technology could be used for the application, which is entitled, "Methods and Systems for Presenting an Advertisement Associated with an Ambient Action of a User."

As ArsTechnica points out, Verizon is not alone is filing patents of this nature. Comcast filed a similar patent in 2008 for using technology that would deliver ads based on which people were in a room at a given time. And in 2007, Google filed a patent for its Google TV service that would use cameras and audio recording devices to determine how many people were simultaneously watching a program.

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