It's a patent that sounds like a plot description for a science-fiction movie or the result of Apple's Siri and Google's AdSense mating. With it, Verizon could program its set-top boxes to survey a room to determine relevant ads to display either on your television or mobile phone. Sound a bit scary? It kind of is.We used to have Verizon FiOS back at Chez Borepatch. If we still had it, I'd be looking for the microphone, with a pair of wire cutters. Or looking for a new provider.
Verizon's technology can work a variety of ways. For starters, it can listen in on conversations - whether it be with someone else in the room or on the phone - and pick out keywords that would aide it in its duties.
Why is this Marketing FAIL? Probably this capability hasn't been deployed yet - it's engineering design. So without any of the supposed benefit to Verizon, they're getting all the 1984 wasn't supposed to be an instruction manual negative publicity that something like this would generate.
And before anyone tells me that nobody cares about privacy, here's the question that I'd pose to Verizon's customer base:
How do you feel about Verizon listening to (and maybe watching) your kids while they watch Lion King?You can phrase it a lot nastier than that, believe me - I'm just too full of sweetness and light to go there myself. But if I were Verizon's competitors, that's exactly what would go into my next mass mailing. I really think that this is the dumbest thing that I've seen in ten years.