Reps. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) filed legislation that would regulate a new technology that targets TV ads to people by observing their activities and conversations while they watch TV via their set-top boxes and DVRs. Verizon, Intel and other tech companies have developed technology that utilizes infrared cameras and microphones built into cable boxes and DVRs to serve up targeted TV ads to people based on their conversations and activities while watching TV. Verizon had filed a patent application last year for a technology that would allow a set-top box to recognize when people are eating, cleaning, reading, laughing and doing other activities while watching TV and serve relevant ads to them according to that behavior. The application was rejected this past December.
Additionally, the bill requires a cable box or set-top device to notify consumers when the monitoring technology is activated and in use by posting the phrase “We are watching you” across their TV screens.