Borepatch put us onto this one, and it sounds like a bunch of hooey.
According to something called (really) HotHardware.com, Verizon has developed a technology that, when put into a cable television receiver, can eavesdrop on your conversations while you watch television and pop up some advertising related to the topic of your conversation.
Even a Constitutional Law expert like President Obama can see where this isn’t going to fly, since digitizing a conversation for analysis is ipso facto unwarranted recording. And clicking Okay on an online license agreement will not exempt Verizon from the law. This is because other people in your house protected by the law (such as visitors) have not clicked on any consent form.
But what are the potential applications for such technology? Actually, there are none beyond what you just read. A lot of these technology news websites are a bunch of folks reading unrelated marketing stuff, putting it by some product development news, and synthesizing all sorts of nonsense out of it. A + B = Z kind of stuff; we’ve taken apart this lazy journalism before.
Your first warning sign is, when reading such an article, whether they have lots of images of products not related to the actual story. Yes, they got them in this one.
And is the web page 75% advertising? Check!
Did the author interview anyone from Verizon to see if his facts were right? Nope.
And do any of the hyperlinks in the story go to a source that confirms this is Verizon’s intention? Nope again.
And does the story seem calculated to amp up the commentators’ paranoia about technology? Check, check!
This story is an invention by the imagination of author Rob Williams, based on reading different pieces of information and just jamming them together. Anyone with some, shall we say, experience in the real world would be able to tell you that Verizon would not even waste their time attempting to deploy such a technology in the open market. Not only would end user resistence be quite high, Verizon would soon find itself shut out of every government contract it enjoys just due to the security risk that would result.
Do a little math here.