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Your TV Soon May Be Watching You

March 22, 2012 by  

Your TV Soon May Be Watching You
New features on television sets are raising some privacy concerns.

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” the time protagonist Winston Smith spends inside of his home mostly is taken up either hiding from the all-seeing screen that hangs upon his wall or taking direct orders from it.

Orwell writes, “It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself–anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide…”

While it may not be a tool of a totalitarian regime (yet), a new breed of televisions is raising concerns of an Orwellian future among privacy advocates. According to the Daily Mail, new products from Samsung, including plasma and HDTVs, are closer than ever to personal computers meant to sit in your living room and include built-in HD cameras, microphones and face- and speech-recognition software.

Critics say the new television technology opens homes of unsuspecting people up to hackers and possibly companies seeking information for marketing purposes, and there is no way to disable the cameras and microphones to ensure privacy.

Gary Merson, who runs a website called HD guru, said: “What concerns us is the integration of both an active camera and microphone. A Samsung representative tells us you can deactivate the voice feature; however this is done via software, not a hard switch like the one you use to turn a room light on or off. And unlike other TVs, which have cameras and microphones as add-on accessories connected by a single, easily removable USB cable, you can’t just unplug these sensors.”

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • FreedomFighter

    If it can be abused it will be abused. I starting to believe removal of all new devices from my home is a smart thing todo.

    Now even your dishwasher spies on you, when combined with smart metering of electricity. In fact the meter allows government to know when you use xyz, how long, and what you are consuming.

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi

    • TIME

      Folks; saddly its all here and has been for years now.
      Your IP, your cable TV, your phone’s both land lines and cell, your GPS in your car, your cars computer, your passport, your Drivers Licence, your ZIP CODE, Your Bank account, Your Credit Cards, OMG people — Cloud Tec, is here and its here to stay.

      What part of any of this is beyond your ability to grasp people?

      Peace and Love

      • Robert Smith

        From Time: “What part of any of this is beyond your ability to grasp people?”

        None of it. Pravacy is a recent concept. Before, when towns were small, there wasn’t electric communication, and often an entire family slept in the same room everyone knew everything.

        Everyone knew who would pay their account at the local stores, who would pay their tab at the local bar, and who you could trust with your wife or kid.

        Were those bad things?


      • Nadzieja Batki

        You have a people who think all this is great and you have a people who find this intrusion repugnant.

      • Nadzieja Batki

        Robert S., privacy is not a recent invention. INDIVIDUALS that we are and are supposed to be choose when we want to be around people and when we want solitude.

      • TIME

        Robert Smith,

        What we have lost is really quite simple to explain, we have lost all value on human life for one. We have also lost a value on human interaction its far more cool to text on the new 4 G, or to play mindless games that train our youth to kill with out question, and we as parents not only pay for such garbage, we even think its good for our kids.
        We have also lost our ability to relate to one an other on any level even, let alone even the most basic.

        We have become a nation of wantabeees, we are no longer a nation of people who will do what it takes to hold together a family, a town, a city, or even a nation.We need to either watch a TV show, or do something thats in vogue, where cloths that are what your told looks mega cool. But Junk we don’t need, eat crap thats bad for us, drink water that’s tainted as our health will be better if we do.

        We have lost our” Humanity”, thats the root of whats wrong as well why people will just go along to get along.
        We no longer as a state nor a city or town help each other when one needs help.
        We no longer have any bonds that hold us together as friends, unless there is some other driving force like ” How much will I get out of it.” Thats sad beyond any words.

        I pray that we as Humans can break the bonds of these chains that hold us to all material junk that we hold so near and dear to our heart, even so far above other humans who need our help.
        I pay that we as Humans can regrow a love of Humanity, stop all the maddness and hate and killing / murder’s we create to fill out blood lust and one up manship. I pray that we as a nation will be able to stand up and just say NO MORE! I will not send my child to one of these mindless wars where the only winners are the very people who are CONtrolling us for our alledged own good.
        I pay that the whole word wakes up and see’s the “PURE EVIL” for what it is.

        Peace and Love

      • vicki

        Robert Smith says:

        From Time: “What part of any of this is beyond your ability to grasp people?”

        None of it. Pravacy is a recent concept.

        Privacy is not a recent concept. It has been around since before the USA. Privacy is so important that it is in multiple places in the Bill of RIghts.

        1. First amendment. Freedom of association. All of your examples are from people freely associating with others. Freedom of association necessarily includes freedom to NOT associate as well. Hence privacy from government agents. The only way a government agency is allowed to violate the freedom to not associate with them is thru a properly executed search warrant.

        Such a warrant can only be issued according to the strict instructions in the BoR.
        (See 4th Amendment)

        Note also that the 4th talks about being secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects. I.E. privacy.

      • vicki

        Forgot to mention the 3rd amendment. :) Hard to have any privacy with a bunch of government agents (soldiers) hanging out in your home :)

      • Your Brother in Arms.

        Hello ‘Time’.
        This is why *The New World Order” is not being defeated…. They’ve been watching us for many – many – many years.

    • Robert Smith

      Freedom: “In fact the meter allows government to know when you use xyz, how long, and what you are consuming.”

      Yup, an increase in your electric bill can be propable cause for a search for grow lights and pot gardening in one’s home.

      They are also using infared to look through walls for hot spots that are lights for growing.

      There is hope. LEDs are almost affordable.


      • Navas de Tolosa

        Authorities have been doing this for quite some time. People used to be in favor of it. Well, it didn’t affect them.

    • Maryland Freestater

      Why the hell would someone want a networked dishwasher except for flood alert?!

      Yeah – NEVER let the power company have the ability to control any appliances that are networkable.The Revolution will NOT be televised – it’s gonna be streamed.

  • cawun cents

    You are about five years too late in announcing this new technology.
    It is already present in the HDTV units.
    The enterprising among us often take things apart to look at them.
    Some systems of integrated technologies are easily explained away(too easily I might add)while others get a very suspicious note when gazing from behind the screen.
    When the announcement that all televisions would be switched to HD came about,I thought that it would be a mgnificent way to insert new ways of”investing in the ratings”.
    Little did I know that they would be investigating through raiding the privacy of the now HD encumbered victim.When I say(they)of course the term applies to those who do this type of thing for various agencies,whether driven by gubment or private funding.My first thought was….now the folks in foreign countries can really see what American life is like.But increasingly I realized that these new techie toys go through a lot of places before they wind up in a store near you.The opportunity to tinker with them is there in many aspects,throughout the system of commerce.Suffice it to say that most people dont even question the need to have the newest and greatest thing since sliced bread.Or even that the object in question might come with perks which they are not keenly aware of.
    I am the one who asks a question nearly every time.The ones who dont think and just react are the ones who are rather easily brainwashed.They just gotta have it,no matter the obvious resasoning to question why they just have to have it.
    Demographics are good for more than just a tool for marketing.They are used in a nutshell for control group purposes.I am not saying there is some little man in a laboratory somewhere sneaking a peek at your potty habits.But it may be to our best interests to ask ourselves if it might be a distinct possibilty,before rushing off to purchase the newest gagetry and gizmos.
    Ah yes…..makes me want to question my sanity.
    Things are not as they appear to be,nor are they otherwise.
    This is the slippery slope we slide down when we make the”he who dies with the most toys wins”mantra our god and reality.But the futures of those who wish that scene,are already written on forgotten scrolls.The need to invest in such toys are what drives us to work until we cant work no more,and the only certain things are death and taxes,right?
    The lack of proper education is finally being seen for what it is,which is unwieldy in its scope and nature.
    The trust in those who bring the toys to play with and expect you to do along to get along runs deep in the American psyche.But you definitely dont need to question it.
    Why you are a loon if you stop to think about it fro more than a moment.
    Just keep up with the Jones’s,and everything will be taken care of for you.
    Are you getting this McFly?
    We are your friends and have absolutely no desire to harangue and control you.
    As long as you keep plodding along with the rest of the herd,you wont be any the wiser.
    Nothing Orwellian about that,right?
    It’s alot like the world of pharmaceutical stimulation.
    Why assume that someone would ever architect a method of control by producing mind numbing substances?
    Its not as if they do this in the sanitariums,right?
    Welcome to where time stands still,no one leaves and no one will.
    No conspiracies here folks just keep going by this wreck and bending your neck to see who the victims are.Slowly in a single file line we approach and crain our spinal column to view for a moment the body lying on the red asphalt.
    Its the ghost of America’s future and past that we see,right before we head off to our lunchbox lives.
    We didnt need to jump out and revive the body,because someone else will do it,right?
    Somebody get a trained professional over here to take down the stats and make sure all the data is stored!

    • 45caliber

      Any piece of equipment that has a telephone connection can spy on you. The ONLY thing in my house connected to a telephone cord is my telephone. When I use my computer on internet, I connect the cord, use it, and then disconnect it. It might not fully stop any spying, but at least it isn’t connect when I go to bed…

    • Navas de Tolosa

      Actually, this is a possibility. I don’t believe that it has anything to do with HDTV, though. My big screen is hooked up to the internet–so that you can download NetFlix movies, etc. TVs have speakers. Any speaker is also a microphone, if you wire it up properly. Hmm, and every now and then my TV that Samsung wants to download an update to it. Maybe it’s a good thing I was too lazy to do it.

      • cawun cents

        ‘Yeah……Just keep thinkings it’s my fault,and stay an inch or two out of kicking distance.Mankind has got to know….it’s limitations.”-Dave Mustaine,Megadeth
        the song Sweating Bullets,album,Countdown To Extinction.
        You can learn a lot from a drug crazed musician.
        But what do I know?
        Apparently very little…….

  • s c

    STOP watching TV. Be different, and exercise your mind. Get off your widening arse. You can be better than a closet fence-sitter or a last-minute “pal” at the polls. If you can’t bring yourself to think or be active via real-life issues, move to a state where they’ll pretend that you serve a purpose.
    If you must, blow up that TV. Cut the power cord. Drop it from 10 feet or higher. Introduce it to a sledge hammer. If you’re addicted, get help. Are you an adult or a utopian?

    • Maryland Freestater

      My personal favorite CRT disposal method: 12ga shotgun.
      ‘Nuff said.

      • Sirian

        #00 or birdshot? Just wondering. . . :)

      • Maryland Freestater

        Punkin’ balls!
        Actually, my kids have shot up a CRT (tube) television and it was quite impressive. They also have started demolishing an unused and deteriorating chicken coop on our property with the shotgun.

        My younger son, when he was 4, had a loony idea which I almost sent to Jay Leno – home renovation via shotgun, kinda like when karate studios demolish a house with kicks and hits.

        Would also be fun to use a firehose!

      • 45caliber


        Depends upon the range …

  • chuck

    Kill your TV, then all you have to be concerned with will be the computer. TV is so bad now, you won’t be missing anything. It’s mostly lies, anyway and you can find more truth on the internet.

  • Sirian

    If iPhones can track you then where’s the surprise that TV’s will be watching us? In the not so distant future the use of nano-technology will be used to track us wherever we go. Go get your flu shot and they have you.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      Tagging humans and animals is still on a volunteer basis. Don’t give them any ideas to speed up the process.

      • Sirian

        I’m not giving them any ideas Nad, it’s already been thought of and planned out. They are basing it on the premise that they will be used for “medical purposes” but anyone with a lick of sense should know to what lengths they will go. NSA, CIA etc. No, it’s already been thought of and planned for. The R&D is in progress. Insofar as “RFID chips”, human tagging, that is actually included in ObamaCare. That will become a mandated requirement once that is fully in place. Honestly, look it up, it’s there.

      • Nadzieja Batki

        Sirian, I was being facetious. I know at what point we are in on the tagging of humans and animals. It is still on a voluntary basis except if you are in some units of the military. The chips/tags so far have been on items you buy to deter stealing.

      • 45caliber

        The government is certainly “suggesting” that parents have the chips put in their kids “in case they are kidnapped”.

  • peter

    Nowhere to go and nowhere to hide? This sort of persecution has to stop somewhere, sometime. Maybe it’s time for the people to show the elites just what it is like ‘to get one’s arse kicked’. Just a thought. When all is lost then only courage remains and I seriously doubt the courage of the ” moneyed manipulators” who control this neck of the universe.
    Do they realize that there is a limit to everything, especially persecution. Somewhere along the line, intrigue and devious diplomacy goes out the window and all hell breaks loose. It is wise to examine the adversary very carefully before picking a fight and then thinking one can win the fight with rhetorical diplomacy. Nature does’nt do bailouts, nor do guns and fists. Never pick a fight with anyone who has nothing to lose but his life, that is a very dangerous situation and if one are not at one’s best, they will soon find their way to boot hill. How many times can a man be slapped in the face before he retaliates? Seems we have gotten used to being slapped, mugged, conned, deceived and persecuted. Are we now suffering from apathy or do we like the way the government pushes us to despair? Are we now delighted to be the slaves of these moronic people, erroneously called leaders. The present bunch of leaders could’nt lead men to a ball game with a free pass and all the trimmings attached. Small wonder some folks have gotten mad at them and it is wise to remember that when some folks get mad, they become very unpredictable. Not everyone is diplomatic and there are some out there who make Rambo look like a sissy, so these diplomatic folks in congress had best tread softly, before something gives.

    • cawun cents

      The scary part is….very soon all or at least many healthcare professionals will work for the gubment.
      Enjoy your”free”healthcare folks!

  • peter

    Correction and apologies: should read if one is not at one’s best… in previous post

  • ds

    This and broadband over electricity. May not end up with much choice. We will be watched and told what to do and not do. Look at the medical records being out there online for ‘all your doctors’ to see and I guess anyone else with a password or that can hack in

    • Maryland Freestater

      That’s assuming a specific level of computer fluency: my doctor has a helluva time dealing with my digitized records and she has an undergrad in MATH! (in addition to her MD).

      Which leads into this – and it’s weird but I trust my wife IMPLICITLY!!! –

      My wife said for my family to revoke our organ-donor status from our drivers’ licenses because there are a growing number of incidents where someone has been ‘killed’ in an accident and having their transplantable donor-able organs removed while the victim was still brain-alive and could feel all the pain of being vivisected.

      Whether this is true or urban myth, I am changing my status ASAP ‘cos I won’t even tempt the fates on this one…

      • Nadzieja Batki

        Your wife is correct.

      • 45caliber


        I saw a note the other day where not only was the person “harvested” but the family had to pay all costs for doing so. If he had been simply judged “dead” the costs would have stopped but they kept the person for three or four additional days for the harvesting. The family had to pay for that … not the people receiving the organs.

      • ValDM

        Do this as soon as you are able, like when you renew your driver’s license. When you remove the donor icon from your driver’s license (make sure) then call 1-877-275-5269 to have yourself removed from the national registry. Just removing the donor icon from your driver’s license doesn’t do enough…… both for a bit of insurance & peace of mind.

  • RichE

    This topic applies to all internet connection. The fix is authentication, but the outcry focus is on the invader or invasion of ones privacies rather than safeguarding ones privacy. Authentication is all about who or what gets access to who or what, but this brings up issues with Freedom of Speeches, FBI, CIA, Hackers, and Homeland Security. Authentication or Hack Proofing is doable, but requires a switch from who can’t to who can and is the who authentic. It would also require a coordinated effort of manufactures and users.

    Hackers gain access thru open (not secure) portals and spoofing security. No one is requiring a Hacker to ID (authenticate) themselves. There are certificates, but these are easily spoofed. Many financial networks and the Presidents Blackberry are hack proof. Why isn’t this technology ingrained in every device?

    That’s my two cents, connectivity is here to stay and we need to focus on hack proofing it.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      The simplest reason may be that we are no longer valuable as Individual Humans.

      • 45caliber

        You are correct. We are valuable only as “taxpayers” and as “subjects”. If we can no longer fill that role, as many elderly cannot, then we are no longer valuable and should be terminated.

    • Steve

      RichE – “Many financial networks and the Presidents Blackberry are hack proof. ”

      You’re wrong on both parts.

      • RichE

        Can you prove the President’s phone is hackable : )

  • 45caliber

    Thanks to Clinton’s Privacy Improvement Act, all present communication devices such as telephones, computers, etc. have built in chips that record all communcations. A government computer calls your home daily (remember the simple beep we used to hear and then nothing further?) to copy off all that data. It then searches that data looking for various code words selected by the government officials. If one is found (such as “bomb”) it will forward that message to a government official to listen to or read. Clinton had the law passed because the SCOTUS stated that he couldn’t simply order the companies to include these items since it was illegal to eavesdrop without a search warrant. The law, passed by Congress and signed by the President, supposedly by-passed this.

    • Steve

      Talk about paranoid BS…………..

      • Nadzieja Batki

        Catch up on some reading and prove it for yourself. Too bad that you don’t like it that there are people that have access to information that you are not privy to.

      • 45caliber


        I agree. I recently asked one of our IT people if it was true. He assured me it was. He said when he and the other IT people have nothing to do, they send emails to each other with the subject as “this is not a bomb threat” just to give the government employees something to read.

      • Vicki

        The info is out there. Steve just has to look for it. This should get him started

    • vicki

      That beep is the Dirac pulse.

      • Steve

        Actually I don’t need to look for either secure Blackberrys or wiretapping. I have a degree in one of the fields discussed and am well versed in the other field since it is my chosen profession.

        I helped implement a lot of the technology being talked about at numerous companies directly related to wiretapping. You can read the link all you want and talk to whoever you want the premise about unhackable Blackberrys and unhackable networks is still BS along with devices implanted into every computer. Sure, so long as the Bb is in the president’s hands you don’t have acces to it. You do know that Bb traffic isn’t housed in the US don’t you? You do know that other countries have access to their citizen’s data don’t you? Hmmm, I guess that means that someone outside this country has access to the data if they want to. Of course, you are correct, the Bb IS SECURE if it isn’t used.

        Get to know the technology, get a degree in the technology, work in the industry for a couple of decades and be responsible for 10s of thousands of clients security and then come back and tell me what you think. Until then I disagree with your perception of what is and what isn’t capable.


  • DanB

    I happen to like home theater computing. However, I don’t want integrated camera and microphone. My home theater is a separate computer, custom built. I can add a webcam, but until I do it has no camera. I can add a microphone, but until I do it has no microphone. What it does have is a keyboard, mouse, and output to a separate television. What it does have is tuner card that I can set to record radio or television broadcasts. When I read about these TVs with microphone and camera built in, I knew it would be a software switch and even if the government did not use your TV to spy on you, a school might, a cyberbully might, the thieves might use it to track when you are home or not, or perhaps a foreign government might use it to spy on you. It isn’t likely to behind a firewall. Even Windows comes with a built in firewall program, not as good as a physical firewall but better than none. These TVs will probably have none. And since government records phone calls without getting warrants, what is to stop them from recording your conversations in your living room? And even if they didn’t, what of some many other entities in the world that would have no qualms about doing so?

    • Steve

      How is anyone going to record anything off a TV and send it anywhere? Dish Network isn’t two-way. Did you hook something up to it to allow it to communicate somewhere else? Network or phone? Simple, disconnect them. Need network? You can block any and all outbound traffic just as easily as blocking inbound. Really don’t want to but still want to know what you are giving up? Analyze the traffic between the TV and the remote site.

      Dish wanted us to connect a phone to each device so they could get stats back on what we were watching so they could provide a better experience. Fat chance. I’ll pay the extra per month and disconnect the phone. They have no idea what I watch and there is no way for them to find out. Simple.

  • Pingback: Govt. Agencies Run Amok – Secret of Trayvon Martin Shooting – 1984 Telescreens Coming? – The Hunger Games « CUT DC.COM

    • cawun cents

      I suggest that you check into the latest and greatest…..nanotechnology.
      With the gubment supervising the very core of the food industry,its a wonder if they dont already have everyones electronic signature.
      If they dont now…..soon they will.
      Demographics anyone?
      The three knows.
      1.Know yourself
      2.Know your enemy
      3,Know your environment
      Do you live in todays comfortable society?
      Get ready for the new sciences to take complete control of life.

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