Privacy & Politics—Congress Wants Your TV To Ask Before Monitoring You

we are watching you act
Everybody loves watching television. But U.S. Representative Michael Capuano is interested in televisions that might be watching you.

New legislation has been introduced by the Massachusetts Democrat that would require viewer notification before a television device begins watching a viewer.

The bill—dubbed the “We Are Watching You Act” by Capuano—is in direct response to reports that telecommunications companies are considering technology that would allow them to monitor viewers’ habits via camera. Or, to specifically recognize individual viewers for the purposes of identifying and formulating programming selections.

The technology could also be used to pinpoint a specific person, analyze that person’s past viewing habits, then deliver advertising targeted to that person’s unique interests.

Even though viewer identification technologies are in their infancy, Capuano contends that Congress needs to establish legal boundaries now, before the technology—and the practice of monitoring viewer activity—becomes mainstream.

The bill, co-sponsored with cooperation across the aisle from North Carolina Republican Representative Walter Jones, won’t outlaw the technology.

Instead, the bill would require viewers to have to agree to being monitored. And, an onscreen warning would appear whenever a device is recording viewer information.

At FYI, we’re watching everything that’s on television and everything that affects how people watch television. And we’re always anxious to look at you and what you’re doing. Even if you’d rather not have your TV doing the same thing. 

Tell us your thoughts about a TV that’s watching you, while you’re watching it. Is agreeing to be watched enough?

Meanwhile, if you’re a provider of TV entertainment content, click below to learn more on just how much we know about what people are watching—and how we provide the data and images to get them there.


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