Verizon Patent: DVR That Watches Users to Target Advertising

The following patent was published on November 29, 2012 and concerns a set-top box capable of monitoring its users “ambient actions” to target advertisements with greater accuracy.

METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR PRESENTING AN ADVERTISEMENT ASSOCIATED WITH AN AMBIENT ACTION OF A USER

  • 14 pages
  • November 29, 2012

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Exemplary targeted advertising systems and methods are disclosed herein. An exemplary method includes a media content presentation system presenting a media content program comprising an advertisement break, detecting an ambient action performed by a user during the presentation of the media content program, selecting an advertisement associated with the detected ambient action, and presenting the selected advertisement during the advertisement break. Corresponding methods and systems are also disclosed.

[0001] The advent of set-top box devices and other media content access devices (“access devices”) has provided users with access to a large number and variety of media content choices. For example, a user may choose to experience a variety of broadcast television programs, pay-per-view services, video-on-demand programming, Internet services, and audio programming via a set-top box device. Such access devices have also provided service providers (e.g., television service providers) with an ability to present advertising to users. For example, designated advertisement channels may be used to deliver various advertisements to an access device for presentation to one or more users. In some examples, advertising may be targeted to a specific user or group of users of an access device.

[0002] However, traditional targeted advertising systems and methods may base targeted advertising solely on user profile information associated with a media content access device and/or user interactions directly with the media content access device. Accordingly, traditional targeted advertising systems and methods fail to account for one or more ambient actions of a user while the user is experiencing media content using a media content access device. For example, if a user is watching a television program, a traditional targeted advertising system fails to account for what the user is doing (e.g., eating, interacting with another user, sleeping, etc.) while the user is watching the television program. This limits the effectiveness, personalization, and/or adaptability of the targeted advertising.

[0015] Detection facility 104 may be configured to detect an ambient action performed by a user during the presentation of a media content program (e.g., by presentation facility 102). As used herein, the term “ambient action” may refer to any action performed by a user that is independent of and/or not directed at a media content access device presenting media content. For example, an ambient action may include any suitable action of a user during a presentation of a media content program by a media content access device, whether the user is actively experiencing (e.g., actively viewing) or passively experiencing (e.g., passively viewing and/or listening while the user is doing something else) the media content being presented.

[0016] To illustrate, an exemplary ambient action may include the user eating, exercising, laughing, reading, sleeping, talking, singing, humming, cleaning, playing a musical instrument, performing any other suitable action, and/or engaging in any other physical activity during the presentation of the media content. In certain examples, the ambient action may include an interaction by the user with another user (e.g., another user physically located in the same room as the user). To illustrate, the ambient action may include the user talking to, cuddling with, fighting with, wrestling with, playing a game with, competing with, and/or otherwise interacting with the other user. In further examples, the ambient action may include the user interacting with a separate media content access device (e.g., a media content access device separate from the media content access device presenting the media content). For example, the ambient action may include the user interacting with a mobile device (e.g., a mobile phone device, a tablet computer, a laptop computer, etc.) during the presentation of a media content program by a set-top box (“STB”) device.

8 comments for “Verizon Patent: DVR That Watches Users to Target Advertising

  1. Freedom76
    December 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Americans Are The Most Spied On People In World History.

    More Spying On Citizens than in Stasi East Germany Global Research, December 05, 2012 Indeed, the American government has more information on the average American than Stalin had on Russians, Hitler had on German citizens, or any other government has ever had on its people. The American government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email, text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information, employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/americans-are-the-most-spied-on-people-in-world-history/5314330

  2. awltoppin
    December 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Elements of the actual application:

    http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PG01&s1=%22Exemplary+targeted+advertising+systems%22.AB.&OS=ABST/%22Exemplary+targeted+advertising+systems%22&RS=ABST/%22Exemplary+targeted+advertising+systems%22

    or. If you are familiar with the US Patent Office site,, go applications and search “quick search> abstracts>
    United States Patent Application 20120304206

    Inside the patent, scroll down to DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS….

    The “STB” [Set Top Box] contains a “Detection facility (104) AKA Camera, is an electronic watchdog……..

    [0015] Detection facility 104 may be configured to detect an ambient action performed by a user during the presentation of a media content program (e.g., by presentation facility 102). As used herein, the term “ambient action” may refer to any action performed by a user that is independent of and/or not directed at a media content access device presenting media content. For example, an ambient action may include any suitable action of a user during a presentation of a media content program by a media content access device, whether the user is actively experiencing (e.g., actively viewing) or passively experiencing (e.g., passively viewing and/or listening while the user is doing something else) the media content being presented.

    [0016] To illustrate, an exemplary ambient action may include the user eating, exercising, laughing, reading, sleeping, talking, singing, humming, cleaning, playing a musical instrument, performing any other suitable action, and/or engaging in any other physical activity during the presentation of the media content. In certain examples, the ambient action may include an interaction by the user with another user (e.g., another user physically located in the same room as the user). To illustrate, the ambient action may include the user talking to, cuddling with, fighting with, wrestling with, playing a game with, competing with, and/or otherwise interacting with the other user. In further examples, the ambient action may include the user interacting with a separate media content access device (e.g., a media content access device separate from the media content access device presenting the media content). For example, the ambient action may include the user interacting with a mobile device (e.g., a mobile phone device, a tablet computer, a laptop computer, etc.) during the presentation of a media content program by a set-top box (“STB”) device.

    [0017] Detection facility 104 may be configured to detect the ambient action in any suitable manner. In certain examples, detection facility 104 may utilize, implement, and/or be implemented by a detection device configured to detect one or more attributes of an ambient action, a user, and/or a user’s surroundings. An exemplary detection device may include one or more sensor devices, such as an image sensor device (e.g., a camera device, such as a red green blue (“RGB”) camera or any other suitable camera device), a depth sensor device (e.g., an infrared laser projector combined with a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (“CMOS”) sensor or any other suitable depth sensor and/or 3D imaging device), an audio sensor device (e.g., a microphone device such as a multi-array microphone or any other suitable microphone device), a thermal sensor device (e.g., a thermographic camera device or any other suitable thermal sensor device), and/or any other suitable sensor device or combination of sensor devices, as may serve a particular implementation. In certain examples, a detection device may be associated with a detection zone. As used herein, the term “detection zone” may refer to any suitable physical space, area, and/or range associated with a detection device, and within which the detection device may detect an ambient action, a user, and/or a user’s surroundings.

  3. lev
    December 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I’m still wondering if Verizon finds some dumb consumers for such a rat-device, even in US. It is nothing but Orwell’s 1984 going real. By the way, can be turned off? or just message appears, stating:

    Switching to battery, techinician and SWAT team are on the way. Please stand by.

  4. February 9, 2013 at 3:37 am

    Microsoft Kinect Spy System (Pin, Archive and Spread this post, it’s being yanked from the net!!)
    Microsoft Kinect Spy System

    THIS ARTICLE IS BEING SCRUBBED FROM THE NET. THE SITE IT WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED TO YANKED THE PLUG ON THEIR WHOLE SITE!!! COPY/PASTE THIS ARTICLE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TO DISCUSSION FORUMS, BLOGS, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, AND ARCHIVE AND MIRROR THIS DOCUMENT SO IT DOES NOT VANISH FOREVER!

    “So you just got the Kinect/Xbox360 gaming system and you’re having fun, hanging out in your underwear, plopped down in your favorite lounge chair, and playing games with your buddies. Yeah, it’s great to have a microphone and camera in your game system so you can “Kinect” to your pals while you play, but did you read that Terms of Service Agreement that came with your Kinect thingy? No? Here, let me point out an important part of that service agreement.

    If you accept the agreement, you “expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft, our partners, or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the Service; or (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public.”

    Did you catch that? Here, let me print the important part in really big letters.

    “If you accept the agreement, you expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications… on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public.”

    OK, is that clear enough for ya? When you use the Kinect system, you agree to allow Microsoft (and any branch of law enforcement or government they care to share information with) to use your Kinect system to spy on you. Maybe run that facial recognition software to check you out, listen to your conversations, and keep track of who you are communicating with.

    I know this is probably old news to some, but I thought I would mention it because it pertains to almost all of these home game systems that are interactive. You have to remember, the camera and microphone contained in your game system have the ability to be hacked by anyone the game company gives that ability to, and that includes government snoops and law enforcement agents.

    Hey, it’s MICROSOFT. What did you expect?

    And the same concerns apply to all interactive game systems. Just something to think about if you’re having a “Naked Wii party” or doing something illegal while you’re gaming with your buddies. Or maybe you say something suspicious and it triggers the DHS software to start tracking your every word. Hey, this is not paranoia. It’s spelled out for you, right there in that Service Agreement. Read it! Here’s one more part of the agreement you should be aware of.

    “You should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features (for example, voice chat, video and communications in live-hosted gameplay sessions) offered through the Service.”

    Did you catch it that time? YOU SHOULD NOT EXPECT ANY LEVEL OF PRIVACY concerning your voice chat and video features on your Kinect box.”

    “Listen up, you ignorant sheep. Your government is spending more money than ever to spy on its own citizens. That’s YOU, my friend. And if you’re one of these people who say, “Well I ain’t ever done nothing wrong so why should I worry about it?’ – you are dead wrong. Our civil liberties are being taken away faster than you can spit. The NSA is working away on its new “First Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative Data Center’ to keep track of every last one of us. This thing will be the size of 17 football stadiums. One million square feet, all to be filled with more technology and data storage than you could imagine. And 30,000 spy drones are set to be launched over America which can each stay aloft for about 28 hours, traveling 300 miles per hour. WHY? Why do we want these things in our skies?

    The military is now taking a keen interest in the Microsoft Kinect Spy System, the fastest selling electronic device in history. Conveniently self-installed in over 18 million homes, this seemingly innocent game system, armed with facial recognition programming and real-time recording of both sound and video, will be used by our own government to spy on and record us in our own homes.

    And it doesn’t stop there. Other game systems such as Nintendo’s WWII are also being turned into government-controlled spy systems. WHY?

    That’s the real question. WHY?!!! Why is our own government spending billions and billions of dollars to spy on its own people? To keep us safe? Do you really believe that?”

    Microsoft’s Kinect System is Watching You
    Published on Apr 5, 2012 by TheAlexJonesChannel:

    [link to http://www.youtube.com (secure)]

    ###

    Big Brother alert: Microsoft wants to know how many friends you’ve got in your living room

    - [link to blogs.telegraph.co.uk]

    By Mic Wright Gadgets Last updated: November 9th, 2012

    - [link to blogs.telegraph.co.uk]

    “One of Microsoft’s latest patent applications[1] is a humdinger. It proposes to turn the Kinect camera into a snitch for movie studios, reporting back just how many friends you’ve got in your living room and what they’re watching. Think that sounds alarmist? Here’s what it actually 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.” It’s that blatant – a system to spy on private viewing habits.

    If put into practice, Microsoft’s plan could mean that the film you’re watching suddenly stops playing if it detects that you’ve got more people squashed on to the sofa than the licence allows. You’d then be prompted to buy a more expensive licence to keep watching. It’s as if Big Brother had built 1984′s Telescreen not to monitor the population but to ensure no one was pirating the Two Minutes Hate.

    In all likelihood, Microsoft will struggle to actually apply this patent in the real world. While copyright holders would be delighted, customers would be turned off by such a draconian system. But that’s what’s interesting about this application and patent applications in general: they often reveal what companies would do if they could get away with it. The black and white drawings and blandly technical language can cover immoral, scary and downright evil ideas.

    There was an even more striking example from Apple earlier this year[2]. In September, it was granted a patent for “Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device”, i.e. a system allowing companies or governments to remotely disable mobile phones and tablets in a particular area.

    While Apple mentions benign examples such as preventing phone calls from disturbing concerts or ensuring devices are switched off on planes, it also states: “Covert police or government operations may require complete “blackout” conditions.” That’s exactly the kind of feature certain governments would love to use to suppress pictures and videos. The patent Apple put its stamp on is a handy form of censorship regardless of whether it will ever apply it.

    Last year, Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, said that the company would hold off from creating a facial recognition service because it would be “crossing the creepy line”. Still, Google has filed for and been granted extensive patents in the area and, as its Project Glass augmented reality goggles move forward, who knows when the “creepy line” will shift?”

    [1] [link to appft.uspto.gov]

    [2] [link to http://www.zdnet.com

    (C) Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012

    ###

    “People are aware that Windows has bad security but they are underestimating the problem because they are thinking about third parties. What about security against Microsoft? Every non-free program is a ‘just trust me program’. ‘Trust me, we’re a big corporation. Big corporations would never mistreat anybody, would we?’ Of course they would! They do all the time, that’s what they are known for. So basically you mustn’t trust a non free programme.”

    “There are three kinds: those that spy on the user, those that restrict the user, and back doors. Windows has all three. Microsoft can install software changes without asking permission. Flash Player has malicious features, as do most mobile phones.”

    “Digital handcuffs are the most common malicious features. They restrict what you can do with the data in your own computer. Apple certainly has the digital handcuffs that are the tightest in history. The i-things, well, people found two spy features and Apple says it removed them and there might be more”"

    From:

    Richard Stallman: ‘Apple has tightest digital handcuffs in history’
    http://www.newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2012/12/05/richard-stallman-interview/

    http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message2133123/pg1

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