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TiVo To Sell Customer Data

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the your-viewing-habits-nabbed dept.

Privacy 469

camusflage writes "Yahoo has a story that details TiVo's plans to sell customer data to advertisers and broadcasters. While individuals will be anonymous, data will be made available in aggregate form, including ZIP code. The San Jose Mercury News has additional coverage on the news."

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469 comments

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Good for them... (5, Insightful)

GreenJeepMan (398443) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097533)

No one individuals personal privacy has been violated. So what is the big deal? Hopefully if they can sustain enough income from this, they can drop their monthly fees.

Re:Good for them... (4, Insightful)

Ron Harwood (136613) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097661)

So they can drop their monthly fees???

Last time I checked - they were a 'for profit' business... monthly fees + selling of data = more profit ~= happier shareholders.

Re:Good for them... (3, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097671)

Hopefully if they can sustain enough income from this, they can drop their monthly fee

Right.... and monkeys will fly out of my butt. And hell? That's right. Frozen over.

Re:Good for them... (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097696)

Maybe you should just hope that they get enough income from this to stay in business. :P

Re:Good for them... (3, Insightful)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097792)

It all depends on where and when the info is aggregated. If they have a raw database WITH the personally identifying information, that would be very dangerous simply because it exists. Any present promises of only using it in aggregate won't be worth the bits they're printed on in a bankruptcy proceeding.

Demographics are not an invasion of privacy. (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097536)

Unless you own your own zip-code (Ted Turner) this does not affect your "rights" in any way.

Re:Demographics are not an invasion of privacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097617)

Its not quite so simple. The population in my Zip code is small enough that it wouldn't surprise me if there are only a handful of other Tivo owners. I am still not sure if this bothers me or not, but I'd be happier if the Zip code were removed.

Re:Demographics are not an invasion of privacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097626)

I think Alan Ralsky also has his own zip-code, thanks in part to the /. crowd.

Re:Demographics are not an invasion of privacy. (1, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097737)

That would depend upon whether they use a standard ZIP or a ZIP+4 - because a ZIP+4 DOES resolve down to a single house.

Re:Demographics are not an invasion of privacy. (3, Interesting)

aborchers (471342) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097774)


a ZIP+4 DOES resolve down to a single house.


Then why do people need to write the rest of my address on the envelope? Zip+4 may in some cases may indicate as much as the same apartment building (if it has sufficient units) or resolve to the same single-family house if you happen to be the only house for miles around (in which case you probably never use the +4) but I doubt these cases are abundant.

However, you do have an interesting point...

Wow (0)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097539)

This is not good. I never planned on having large companies having access to my tv viewing habits. This angers me greatly. But, on the other hand - if it keeps Tivo in business, I guess I'd rather have them stay in business. But I sure would like to see some sort of opt-out feature here.

Re:Wow (5, Funny)

BilldaCat (19181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097583)

news flash, einstein:

NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR PARTICULAR VIEWING HABITS.

take off your tin-foil hat now.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097750)

hawkbug likes his privacy.

he lives in colorado, but when to school in iowa. he only moved to colorado in the last 3 years to do *cough* ASP work for some tax software company. unfortunately he's not important enough to be on the company's "team members" database.

here he is:

http://www.fimble.com/staver/jen.jpg

i think he's the one on the right. jen staver likes privacy, too:

http://www.fimble.com/~frock/about.html

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

cmallinson (538852) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097587)

I never planned on having large companies having access to my tv viewing habits

You didn't even read the summary, let alone the article. As long as they do not use any of your personal information, they are not invading your privacy. This is no more invasive than reading web server logfiles.

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097654)

Heck, less than that. Web server -statistics-, post amalgamating and tabulating.

So they can tell that three thousand people in your zip code watched American Idol... they're not going to be able to conclusively proove *you* have no taste. ;)

Re:Wow (1)

stevenbdjr (539653) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097616)

They don't have access to your TV viewing habits. They have access to your zip code's TV viewing habits, which happens to include you. This should hardly upset you, as it doesn't really concern you, as an individual.

Re:Wow (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097629)

Then opt-out - Tivo has always been giving an option to do so. This entire story is a non-issue.

Why not? (2, Interesting)

Keith Mickunas (460655) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097705)

If they use this information wisely, we all win. Admittedly that's a big if, but if the data is such that they can determine geek viewing habits, we can have more quality geek TV.

Re:Why not? (1)

ClippyHater (638515) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097793)

That would only be true if we all lived in a big geek commune. (Un)fortunately, we've spread to the 4 corners of the known world and can't claim a single zip code as ours.

Re:Why not? (2, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097823)

we can have more quality geek TV

And that would be... what, exactly?

I missed a meeting, tell me what I'm supposed to be watching in order to keep my membership card.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097830)

The ability to opt out of tivo's data collection has always been there. Call tivo and tell them you wish to opt out. They have been collecting data since day one they just have never given out to anyone in the past.

Key word: aggregate (4, Insightful)

pmz (462998) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097542)

Unless there's a ZIP code in Wyoming with only one person...I don't see any rights being trampled, here.

Re:Key word: aggregate (4, Funny)

ryants (310088) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097564)

Unless there's a ZIP code in Wyoming with only one person
Insert "yo mamma so fat..." joke here.

Re:Key word: aggregate (1)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097744)

Unless sales of the quarterly report drop, and then the aggregate data is based on something other than zip code, say... street. And then address... and then household... and then individual box.

There is nothing that says TiVo can't do something like that. Given the relatively slow adoption of the service, the lack of price decreases for the hardware, lack of a real advertising campaign (in CT where I live 45min from NYC), and diminishing competition, I see this sort of slippery slope cenario to be a valid possibility.

In the end, TiVo cares more about staying in business then the happiness of some of its users.

Re:Key word: aggregate (3, Insightful)

realdpk (116490) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097768)

Doesn't it bode well that they've said they'd do something like this since oh, day one? That is, the selling of aggregate data?

They've been very open with us on this issue. They've given no reason not to trust them.

Re:Key word: aggregate (3, Funny)

dreamt (14798) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097840)

Nothing other than their privacy policy. Doing demographics has _ALWAYS_ been included in Tivo's privacy policy, and you have _ALWAYS_ been able to opt out, if you want.

Besides, as many people in the non /. world have said, why not view this as an oppoptunity to influence the market? Maybe enough people's habbits will kill these idiotic reality shows.

Not a problem (5, Insightful)

Zirnike (640152) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097551)

"in aggregate form"

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Aggregate data is fine, for the most part (obviously, if your consumer base is 5 people, there might be an issue), but for this, I don't see the problem. And I'm a serious privacy advocate...

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097607)

define aggregate plz

Exactly right. (4, Interesting)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097709)

HIPAA laws even allow for this. I work in long term care and we group data by regions. We just remove all identifiable data.

This allows us to do trending and catch things that would otherwise be impossible.

Trending is good when it's aggregate data. When the book police come to your door it's bad.

Re:Not a problem (1)

aborchers (471342) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097799)


Aggregate data is fine, for the most part (obviously, if your consumer base is 5 people, there might be an issue)

No issue there either because, in practice, noone will ever buy a demographic for 5 people.

Nothing to see... Move along. (5, Insightful)

TedTschopp (244839) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097553)

To me this doesn't seem like a big deal. This type of information is a marketing pleb's dream. And it looks like information about you personally would not be viewable. Aggregate is the way we as privacy experts should be pushing as a compromise. This is no big deal. And as someone who has seen how this aggregate data is used with GIS software. Again, I say... Nothing to see, move along. Ted Tschopp

Re:Nothing to see... Move along. (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097649)

Oh come on, what are you trying to do, rain on a good /. anti-corporate parade here? Just count the "Tivo sold out, the bastards!" posts that come along...

pr0n (5, Funny)

Jukeb0x (678229) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097559)

Finally they might give me the pr0n-commercials and ads I've been waiting for!

Help! TiVo thinks you're gay! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097752)

Remember, this is TiVo we're talking about. You'll be getting gay [dfw.com] pr0n commercials!

Re:pr0n (1)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097796)

Yeah! I personally can't *wait* for those penis enlargement ads and the ads that say I can work from home and make big $$$! w00t! I'm gonna only an hour a day, be independently wealthy, AND have 13 inches! I'll be a babe magnet for sure!

Where do I sign up for TiVO?

Hasn't this happened before? (5, Informative)

icemax (565022) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097561)

Seems like this has been going on [epinions.com] since the beginning

Of course they do (-1, Flamebait)

Bob Abooey (224634) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097565)

What's all this with a bunch of self-absorbed anti-social geeks getting all worked up over people selling their data.

Trust me, you are nothing but a little speck of dust in the wind and besides the other dillusional angest filled teenagers posting here notbody is really all that interested in you or your data on a personal level.

I suggest you all get over yourselves and go ourside and walk around for a while.

Sheesh.

GO BACK TO FELLATING TPS12, YOU MEXICAN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097724)

Oh Crap!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097566)

Better cancel all those furry related programs on my to do list.

I wish I could say I was surprised.... (3, Interesting)

berniecase (20853) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097567)

I wish I could say I was surprised, but I'm not. So they're going to sell this information to other people, but I'd like to see it for myself, too. I'd like to know just what they're tracking and how the reports look for the ad agencies buying this stuff.

I wonder if TiVo includes any data like "we know that such-and-such in this zip code makes between 40,000-80,000 a year and has 2.3 kids, etc."

Is there an opt-out feature? Can I keep the anonymous data from getting to TiVo the first place (apart from unplugging the unit)?

Re:I wish I could say I was surprised.... (4, Insightful)

realdpk (116490) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097656)

How would TiVo know you make between 40,000 and 80,000 a year?

TiVo knows that I make more than $155.88/year, but I haven't given them an indication of how much more.

And yes, there's an opt out feature in the TiVo, so you can have your viewing statistics removed from your zip code. Big win for privacy. ;) Just don't complain when your local station uses the info and decides to cancel your favorite three-thumbs-up show. ;)

Re:I wish I could say I was surprised.... (4, Insightful)

jgerry (14280) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097735)

So they're going to sell this information to other people, but I'd like to see it for myself, too.

I'm sure lots of us would like to see that data, but if they made it available to us for free, that would kinda negate the possibility of them SELLING the data for $$$, you know? Contact Tivo and I'm sure they'll get together a quote for you and you could purchase the data too.

Is there an opt-out feature?

Yes, you can call Tivo and opt-out, should you choose. It's quick and hassle free, I know lots of other Tivo owners who have done that.

Personally, I haven't opted out. I've seen the data that is sent to Tivo, it can't be tracked to me individually, and I'd like Tivo to be able to make a buck so they don't go out of business.

Really folks, this isn't a paranoid, tinfoil hat issue. It's just business, and Tivo's model seems far more ethical than most. I'm more than happy to help them out. It doesn't cost me anything.

Re:I wish I could say I was surprised.... (2, Informative)

camusflage (65105) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097819)

I wonder if TiVo includes any data like "we know that such-and-such in this zip code makes between 40,000-80,000 a year and has 2.3 kids, etc."

That's where ACORN cluster data [esribis.com] comes in handy...

Audience Measuring Tool (1)

jmays (450770) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097568)

And at the same time they release this [tivo.com] .

A true story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097570)

Once upon a time whilst walking in a park I asked a geek "Do you have a girlfriend?". He responded with a very puzzled look. "A girlfriend?," he mused, "Who is the developer?". I chuckled and told him this was not an open source project. He then became slightly angry and inquired, "Are you trying to insult me? Only the best geeks use open source only! What planet are you living on?!". I reassured him I was well aware of his integrity as a geek (white skin, clumsy, pants that are too short, lack of daily shower, pocket protector etc), and explained, "A girlfriend is a female who to a male (most oftenly a male) has an intimate friendship." He gave me a very confused look. "I have never heard of such a thing.. this.. g-g-irlfriend?" He asked me, sounding very baffled. "I have heard of friends before, those pets other people have. But what is this thing you say.. Grill?". "Girl," I corrected. Then I asked him to sit down on a bench nearby so I could explain it too him, the poor, helpless thing. I told him that for human beings to reproduce, sexual intercourse must occur between a male and a female. "Perhaps you hear the trolls mention a thing called "pussy" on slashdot?". The geek burst into laughter, "Haha, you have been browsing at -1 lately, haven't you? You know that is just troll talk. Those silly trolls never have anything intelligent to say."

My face turned serious. "My dear geek, are you not aware of the female population amongst you? Do you not stare in the street and want to hump a post when you pass by a hot, slim, gorgeous looking chick with a firm bust and well sculpted ass?". The geek immediately began to appear as if he was having a nervous breakdown. His glasses began to fog up and he took them off to wipe them with this linux embroidered shirt, "I think I know what you are talking about. Those things are icky. They have cooties. Get away from me!" I felt offended. "Nonsense, I pleaded! Pussy is a beautiful thing. A sacred thing that you should strive to give pleasure to." The geek would not listen and he began to cry. "STOP IT!! You are EVIL!!" He then, quite geekishly, skipped off down the path.

I walked back to my house feeling rather disheartened. 'Why don't they listen to me' I asked myself? When I got home my girlfriend opened the door. She was wearing short-shorts and a sports bra. She had been doing the thigh master for the past 30 minutes and was sweating. I could see her dark nipples underneath her slightly damp bra. Oh god I could fuck her to the moon and back. I could smell her horniness the second I took my shoes off. I chased her, both of us laughing, to our bedroom [THE FOLLOWING has been censored for the well-being of geeks].... Six hours later, finally satisfied a little, I sat up and noticed that same geek hiding in the trees. He had been watching us the entire time. I swear his penis had to have been the size of a fucking horse cock (not bad for a geek, i might add), and he appeared as if he had gone into a state of shock. I could see cum stains forming near the bulge of his pant zipper. I thought to myself. There is one geek, finally brought into the real world.

Weren't they already doing this? (2, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097572)

I thought they had planned to do this all along.

Either way, it's yet another reason to buy a TiVo instead of building your own (yes, I wrote that correctly). If you're using a TiVo companies will be paying attention to what you watch and potentially using the info to determine what to put on in the future. Build your own and they won't.

Re:Weren't they already doing this? (1)

Poofat (675020) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097736)

"If you're using a TiVo companies will be paying attention to what you watch and potentially using the info to determine what to put on in the future."

Thats a good idea in theory, but with the sketchy ratings data they have already, we get atrocities like American Idol and Joe Millionaire

Re:Weren't they already doing this? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097794)

we get atrocities like American Idol and Joe Millionaire

You know, they make shows for many types of viewers. You can't expect *all* the shows to be made for your tastes. At least nobody's forcing you to actually watch Joe Millionaire. For now at least...

Opt Out Option (5, Informative)

sweeney37 (325921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097574)

You can Opt-Out of the Marketing data collection by calling Customer Care (877-For-TiVo)

Mike

Re:Opt Out Option (1)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097660)

That's true, and it is better than nothing. But, wouldn't it be a lot nicer if all of these companies that sell/share your data had an Opt-In policy instead. That way, maybe, your data could be private by default rather than having to call and send letters to all these different organizations in order to "Opt-Out"

Re:Opt Out Option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097717)

Ha! Sucker! That number automatically adds you to the list of people that have something to hide! Terrorist!

Electronic Privacy who cares? (1)

Pilo (673839) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097584)

Indivudually your viewing habbits are worth nothing to the company that buys the information. The only thing that they care about is "what is the most viewed show?" Why would a company look and see: ooohhh John is watching Survivor, we should have a comercial then. We're not talking about credit card information here, i don't like what an outcry privacy advocates are making over the small stuff like this.

Last I checked... (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097586)

...the TV ratings (those Nieslen boxes) were divided by various zones as well. Perhaps not quite as finemasked as this, but I really don't see much of a privacy issue here. As long as they don't start selling subscription data for direct marketing, I wouldn't mind.

Kjella

No real news here (2, Insightful)

cmeans (81143) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097590)

TiVo always indicated that they might do this. You agree to it in the EULA/Terms of Service. I'm glad they've got another option for a revenue stream, especially as it could mean a slight improvement in AD quality.

This is a Good Thing.... (1, Funny)

Giant Ape Skeleton (638834) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097598)

I work in a pet store and we are always in need of paper to line the Chinchilla corrals etc.

The more junk mail we get, the better -- we can line all the cages and not feel guilty about wasting paper!

And why do we have Tivo in the store?

Animal Planet, baby!!! :-)

Re:This is a Good Thing.... (1)

SomeOtherGuy (179082) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097821)

work in a pet store and we are always in need of paper to line the Chinchilla corrals etc.

Chinchilla's deserve sawdust and at the very least straw. What kind of animal are you to let them live in/on paper. :)

Re:This is a Good Thing.... (1)

Giant Ape Skeleton (638834) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097842)

What kind of animal are you to let them live in/on paper

Hey, c'mon! at least it gives them something to read while they are going to the bathroom!

odd (1)

jtdennis (77869) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097599)

I could have sworn that TiVo did this already. I can only see it as a good thing though especially since some of my favorite new shows (John Doe) were canceled and reality crap is still going strong. TiVo doing this is a good alternative to nielson ratings IMHO.

OK this is not terrible... (3, Interesting)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097608)

I hope the networks (in addition to the advertisers which will of course snap it up... thank god for keyword 'aggregate') will look at this data as well. I have always thought that I effectively have a Nielson box sitting under my TV, so why shouldn't they take advantage of it? Maybe Firefly would still be on the air with statistics from our Tivo boxes...

Watch out Big Brother is watching! (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097623)

When people cry over the spilt milk that is privacy invasion, I often wonder why they make such a fuss. If a company is selling data about thousands or millions of its customers to a third party, individuality is lost as the advertisers etc. want data in bulk.

I wouldn't care if my viewing details were whizzed off to some number crunching machine somewhere because at the end of the day I have nothing to hide (although if, hypothetically of course, I were watching too much Will and Grace I might be keeping something in the closet, as it were)

oh great (4, Funny)

Lxy (80823) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097636)

Now mass marketers will think I'm Gay [dfw.com] .

Funny hack opportunities (5, Funny)

Big Toe (112240) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097640)

Imagine if you could change the information sent to Tivo so the advertisers thought young teenagers watched "The 700 Club" and retired senior citizens watched MTV. Soon Depends undergarments will advertise during TRL and Trojan condoms will be blasting its ads to conservative republicans. That would be dope.

And if this bothers you... (2, Funny)

johnnick (188363) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097642)

Just set your box to record lots of stuff that you want "THEM" to think you watch during the night or when you're not at home and there's nothing else that you care about. That way, your pr0n habits will seem like more of a statistical aberration.

John

tivo (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097646)


I cannot post this as anything other than an AC.

I was a TiVo engineer back in the 90's.

In early 1999, TiVo started to include a specialized signal in the colour synchronization signal of their programming guide. This signal, when downconverted to VLF (Very Low Frequency) audio are proven to be subliminal messages.

Messages such as "Flush the toilet" were tested. Our sources at various city waterworks confirmed that water consumption spiked dramatically when this test message was played.

In November or December of 1999 some of the test messages promoted purchasing, just in time for the holiday gift season. Records from the time will show an above average sales season.

Then in May 2000, after all the Y2K nonsense had gone away, a disgruntled engineer locked the system into a continuous loop. We've been unable to break into the system yet to disable the message. However, the message says "Go to Goatse.cx [goatse.cx] . Being that slashdot has a higher than normal amount of TiVo users, it comes as no suprise that this link is commonplace.

Do not succumb to goatse.cx! You have been programmed

Re:tivo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097668)

Once upon a time whilst walking in a park I asked a geek "Do you have a girlfriend?". He responded with a very puzzled look. "A girlfriend?," he mused, "Who is the developer?". I chuckled and told him this was not an open source project. He then became slightly angry and inquired, "Are you trying to insult me? Only the best geeks use open source only! What planet are you living on?!". I reassured him I was well aware of his integrity as a geek (white skin, clumsy, pants that are too short, lack of daily shower, pocket protector etc), and explained, "A girlfriend is a female who to a male (most oftenly a male) has an intimate friendship." He gave me a very confused look. "I have never heard of such a thing.. this.. g-g-irlfriend?" He asked me, sounding very baffled. "I have heard of friends before, those pets other people have. But what is this thing you say.. Grill?". "Girl," I corrected. Then I asked him to sit down on a bench nearby so I could explain it too him, the poor, helpless thing. I told him that for human beings to reproduce, sexual intercourse must occur between a male and a female. "Perhaps you hear the trolls mention a thing called "pussy" on slashdot?". The geek burst into laughter, "Haha, you have been browsing at -1 lately, haven't you? You know that is just troll talk. Those silly trolls never have anything intelligent to say."

My face turned serious. "My dear geek, are you not aware of the female population amongst you? Do you not stare in the street and want to hump a post when you pass by a hot, slim, gorgeous looking chick with a firm bust and well sculpted ass?". The geek immediately began to appear as if he was having a nervous breakdown. His glasses began to fog up and he took them off to wipe them with this linux embroidered shirt, "I think I know what you are talking about. Those things are icky. They have cooties. Get away from me!" I felt offended. "Nonsense, I pleaded! Pussy is a beautiful thing. A sacred thing that you should strive to give pleasure to." The geek would not listen and he began to cry. "STOP IT!! You are EVIL!!" He then, quite geekishly, skipped off down the path.

I walked back to my house feeling rather disheartened. 'Why don't they listen to me' I asked myself? When I got home my girlfriend opened the door. She was wearing short-shorts and a sports bra. She had been doing the thigh master for the past 30 minutes and was sweating. I could see her dark nipples underneath her slightly damp bra. Oh god I could fuck her to the moon and back. I could smell her horniness the second I took my shoes off. I chased her, both of us laughing, to our bedroom [THE FOLLOWING has been censored for the well-being of geeks].... Six hours later, finally satisfied a little, I sat up and noticed that same geek hiding in the trees. He had been watching us the entire time. I swear his penis had to have been the size of a fucking horse cock (not bad for a geek, i might add), and he appeared as if he had gone into a state of shock. I could see cum stains forming near the bulge of his pant zipper. I thought to myself. There is one geek, finally brought into the real world.

Re:tivo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097731)

programmed by who? i definitely hope that i am open [goatse.cx] source

Not a big deal. (4, Interesting)

brooks_talley (86840) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097650)

Am I the only one who thinks that the extreme "privacy" fringe is doing a lot to discredit legitimate privacy concerns.

I care if Tivo sells a list of the programs to watch to a local advertiser who will then call me on the phone, bang on my door, or spam me with "special offers just for me." Tivo, in that case, is attempting to act as a middleman in setting up a business relationship that I have no interest in.

I do not care if Tivo sells data about how many people in California, or even my ZIP code, watched Buffy last night.

Now, there are issues with privacy policies; if Tivo has said that they wouldn't do this and then have, they've lied to their customers, and even the most paranoid privacy freak has a right to expect companies to live up their word.

But really, there are enough *very* significant privacy issues today that relate to *government* spying on *individuals* with no probably cause, warrant, etc.

I'm not at all sure that groups, such as "everyone who lives in my ZIP code" are, or should be, entitled to the same level of privacy protection that individuals deserve.

I mean, if I go down to the street corner and count how many people push the "push to cross" button and then sell that data to the people who make "push to cross" buttons, am I somehow violating peoples' privacy? If I do it in 10 cities? 100? Does it matter if I'm incorporated and have employees or not?

I'm willing to hear the other side, and I certainly subscribe to the slippery-slope argument, but for the most part I think this kind of corporate aggregation of data is at most a very minor concern in a world filled with huge privacy issues.

Cheers
-b

Cool with me. (4, Interesting)

Schezar (249629) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097658)

I want the ad moguls and networks to know what I watch, because they might just notice that my viewing habits, like those of many people, are nothing like what they believe them to be.

I don't watch ads. Period. I watch a few good shows, and I ignore the rest.

On a larger scale, my dream would be for the entire system of free-but-with-forced-ad-watching television to fall to pieces. Sure, it might mean the end of television as mass-media, but it would also force a lot of mouth-breathers to do something other than watch TV every night.

Of course, I'm pretty tired right now, so make what you will of the preceding. ^_~

Kickback? (1)

codefool (189025) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097659)

The way I see it, if I'm paying for the programming information so I can use the TiVo, and TiVo collects my viewing statistics for sale (which in the aggregate I also pay for), then I'm due a payback (reimbursement?).

IOW - I'm paying TiVo for the privalege of giving them valuable market information that they sell for almost pure profit.

Am I missing something?

Re:Kickback? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097785)

You are a moron. The data is part of what you're paying TiVo (though they are nice enough to stop collecting it if you ask). Without alternate revenue streams, you'd be looking at increased subscription costs or TiVo having a hard time making enought cash.

And again (5, Insightful)

psychophil.com (2573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097676)

This came up during the superbowl commercial rating. Tivo released info saying which superbowl commercials its viewers watched most.


Again I say, Tivo selling the viewing info is a GOOD THING. I am tired of shows I like getting cancelled for lack of Neilson ratings. I've never been nor have I even known a Neilson family. I don't like the fact that someone else is deciding what's good TV and what should be cancelled.


This will broaden the base of input for TV ratings. Another plus, Tivo owners tend to be geekish. This will most likely help the rating and staying power of shows that geeks watch (sci-fi to be specific). Maybe we finally have a fighting chance against inane 30 minute sitcoms and 'reality' TV.

Re:And again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097780)

I was a Neilson family.. heh well for a 3 week period last year during sprint sweeps.

The problem was that the Neilson form has no concept of time shifting, so it was almost impossible to fill out "properly". I ended up just filling in the times of my favorite programs and then sending it in. Hell some of the things I listed I hadn't watched for days or weeks after the sweeps period.

Personally I am in favor of TiVo doing agregate show ratings based on zip code or other "generalized" methods. This will hopefully insure more programming people want to watch.. and may even allow the TV networks to realize that I don't want to watch programming at 7pm Monday.. but instead to put the good shows on the air on Tuesday night.

Viewing habits private? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097677)

While they might make the information to data miners aggregate they still know what YOU are watching. When you tv calls up I would assume you are IDENTIFIED to make sure you are a ligit subscriber to dl the content.

So Tivo know what you watch and most likely could have this info by person in a database. You anonymity is dependate on how they collect and store the data. Any have this in writting?

Focused Advertising (5, Insightful)

mjmalone (677326) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097680)

My brother works for TiVo, and they have been planning to do this from the getgo. The idea is that they will be able to target advertising to different customer groups. For example, Ford might buy a 30 second ad spot, on a TV owned by a single man, 25 years old, might display an ad for a Ford Mustang while a TV owned by a family of 5 might show an ad for a minivan. This doesnt seem like a big deal to me, in fact I kind of like the fact that I wont have to sit through as many ads for crap I really am not interested in... I can finally watch the beer and sports car commercials I love so much.

Re:Focused Advertising (1)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097719)

That's much like saying you "kind of like" the targetted banner ads that you get from doubleclick et al.

Re:Focused Advertising (1)

mjmalone (677326) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097747)

If I have to see them, I'd rather they be targetted. I don't mind ads so much as long as 1) they dont get in the way and 2) they are for things I am interested in. Advertising is a legitimate business and an important one in our economy. Wouldn't you rather see ads for things you like, computers, technology, etc. than things you don't really care about?

Re:Focused Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097761)

No.

Re:Focused Advertising (4, Interesting)

SuperQ (431) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097789)

What I'd like to see is for there to be an option in the tivo ad item (main screen) to thumb-down an ad I don't like, or don't even want to watch..

Re:Focused Advertising (1)

mjmalone (677326) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097820)

From what I understand features like this are being implemented. One feature similar to this is the ability to "thumbs up" an ad for a TV show that is displayed, which would automaticaly queue the show for recording on your box. A feature like the one you describe would not only be useful for the consumer, but logical for TiVo as well because it would allow them to focus their advertising further. I'm sure something like this will show up in the not too distant future.

Re:Focused Advertising (1)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097827)

In the meantime I shall use the 30-sec skip backdoor code

Select-Play-Select-3-0-Select

No more commercials for me!

1997 MIT study said aggregate data defeats privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097683)

From the draft HIPAA Privacy Rule's Preamble:

"A 1997 MIT study showed that, because of the public availability of the Cambridge, Massachusetts voting list, 97 percent of the individuals in Cambridge whose data appeared in a data base which contained only their nine
digit zip code and birth date could be identified with certainty. Their information had been ``de-identified'' (some obvious identifiers had been removed) but it was not anonymous (it was still
possible to identify the individual).

\1\ Sweeney, L. Guaranteeing Anonymity when Sharing Medical Data, the Datafly System. Masys, D., Ed. Proceedings, American
Medical Informatics Association, Nashville, TN: Hanley & Belfus, Inc., 1997:51-55."

Maybe they'll seel my info... (1)

JohnnySkidmarks (607274) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097699)

to some crafty politician who will realize that people like me exist in his/her region and get pissed off when Large companies rights trample my own, again and again.....

Re:Maybe they'll se(l)l my info... (1)

JohnnySkidmarks (607274) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097742)

I corrected my self...but it would be nice IF a politician WOULD seal my info

Trust the fox (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097728)



You trusted the fox.

Haha, and you thought TV could be good for you!

Suckas!

I'm tired of this (5, Interesting)

Palshife (60519) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097729)

Read the privacy policy [akamai.net] . It's been around since TiVo was founded, and nothing in that time has changed.

TiVo has been selling your demographic data for years. Superbowl advertisers bought information from TiVo to see which Brittney Spears commercial got the most replay and in which kinds of households.

This has absolutely nothing to do with an infrigement of rights, as it all strictly adheres to an agreement between customer and provider made fully clear at the time of purchase.

To offset the costs of building and maintaining a complicated system that provides an excellent service to consumers they sell information on their demographics. Anyone wanna tell me how that makes them evil all of a sudden?

Re:I'm tired of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097753)

i am a geek and was wondering what is britney spears. i did a google imagine search. her face looks funny and different. what are those pointy things near the top of her chest?

Re:I'm tired of this (1)

Palshife (60519) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097822)

Those are called silicone torpedoes, Timmy.

...may I have another? (3, Insightful)

presearch (214913) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097760)

You buy a TiVo box for a few hundred, pay a few hundred
more for the subscription that doesn't really pay
for content, just indexing and the privilege of them
not disabling the box that you paid for. All of this in
order to watch commercial-filled television that you
are also paying your sat or cable company even more
money for, all tied up in a DRM wrapper.

Now, they are collecting your stats, your private life
(as collected on the box you paid for, perhaps continually),
and selling it. And people here think it's great because
(at least today) it's not directly tied to your name.

Boy, that TV must be really great stuff.

Cool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097762)

Maybe they'll see the three Mothra movies I recorded this weekend and program an "all giant monster" channel for me. :)

What's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097764)

I thought they had been doing this all along.

I know this isn't a popular view but... (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097772)

I am a data FIEND. I LOVE data, I love varied data, good data, bad data, random data, and wierd data. I like playing with it, and running stats on it and basically just wallowing in it.

So frankly, pretty much any data collection gets my approval, as long as anonymity is preserved. Really, the specific data is the least useful. Who cares what one guy does? There is no reason to collect that data except for the express purpose of violating someones privacy. Now tell me what every guy between 20 and 30 is doing, and I'll be frickin ecstatic.

Just my opinion.

i have something intelligent to say (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097777)

not!

Doesn't really matter... (1)

opusbuddy (164089) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097784)

Given this morning's FCC vote, there's soon to only be one media company, anyway. Then, all Rupert Murdock would have to do is buy Tivo. This just saves everyone time and money...


Who doesn't sell data ? (3, Insightful)

tmark (230091) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097786)

OSDN is already using your data for their own benefit:

OSDN may use accumulated aggregate data for several purposes including, but not limited to, marketing analysis, evaluation of OSDN's services, and business planning. .

There is no prohibition against selling it to other parties. So why the cry of wolf ? I'm pretty sure that if someone found aggregate Slashdot information useful, OSDN would be - or is - selling it. And I don't care. Is it a violation of my privacy if some marketing firm studies aggregate customer behavior in a store and discovers that the majority of customers turn right when they enter ? I don't think it is, and that sort of aggregate research is happening all the time.

so basicly they are saying (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097790)

"we have x number of customers inthis zip code and here are the zipcodes viewing statistics......

so damn what...as long as my address is not included I see no problem.

Ain't no thing.... (4, Insightful)

billmaly (212308) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097801)

1. I record shows for the kids and History/Discovery channel stuff for myself. A few network shows here and there, and once in awhile, a little T&A off the cable channels. Naughty, but not really embarassing. If this gets "reported" I can live with it. However, it's broken down by zip code, so I don't have many concerns. Plus, if it shows that I really like well thought out, witty commercials (there are some out there), basically advertainment and not mindless ads, and this creates better advertainment for me, is this not a good thing?

2. TiVo could become more relevant that Neilsen data. Imagine, they can break down for networks what was recorded vs. what was actually watched, when it was watched, and what commercials were watched while viewing. Combine this with the fact (here's where TiVo shareholder's laugh with glee) that I will PAY THEM to LET THEM track this data, and be happy to do so, it's a win win for the company and the consumer.

TiVo truly does put one in control of their viewing. If they want to gather a little data, virtually anonymously, fine by me.

Both Good and Bad (1)

Capt_Troy (60831) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097804)

Initially i thought that this was a good thing. If a bunch of geeks like me are out there watching the same shows as I am and those numbers are being represented to the stations then maybe I wouldn't have to start watching a show, think it's good, and then wonder what happened to it (firefly).

However, should the stations use this information in the same manner as they use the neilson stuff (which I assume is regulated in distribution somehow) then what's to keep some production company from buying a bunch of Tivos and having them record their shows, or paying Tivo users to record and play a show (not necessarily watch it). say for 5 bucks, record a show and play it while your taking a nap or something.

So I am both interested and worried. But for the most part, I think it would take a large number of cheaters to offset that of the legitimate watchers.

Troy

"Zip codes aren't a privacy problem" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097831)

Comments by many people here state that this isn't an invasion of privacy because TiVo only tells the zipcode. While normally I would agree, these same people howl whenever they hear about spyware. If you have a problem with spyware that claims that it does not give away personally identifiable information, then why don't you have a problem with this (assuming the spyware license doesn't lie. For all you know, they could be telling the truth, despite their shady nature)? I realize that spyware has many other issues as well (eating up your bandwidth and resources) but most of the complaints seem to come from the invasion of privacy that people feel.

Blipverts here we come! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6097843)

Drink C-c-c-c-coke!

Well, Duh. (1)

irving47 (73147) | more than 11 years ago | (#6097844)

Hopefully mods will see past the topic before modding me down...
TiVo has been saying they're doing to do this for years now. It's always been planned to do this by zip code with no names. Yeah, it's really going to suck. They're (The networks) are going to figure out what we like and make MORE OF IT! Yeah, we're screwed over on this one, alright.
TiVo users are probably very heavily in the tech. industry. That means our shows are probably pretty similar. Family Guy, Futurama, John Doe (maybe), The Agency... Seeing a pattern here? Shows that were cancelled. Maybe we can balance out the Neilson ratings. They use, what? 4000 families for the whole country?
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