Microsoft has received a patent for technology that would enable the Xbox Kinect hands-free controller to spy in on your living room to see how many people are watching movies or listening to music.
Reports Digital Trends:
A newly published Microsoft patent shows the Redmond, Washington-based computing giant may soon have the ability to monitor Xbox users through their Kinect hands-free controller. The system would allow content providers, like movie studios or record companies, new ways to monetize their goods. Only problem: The technology sounds like something straight out of 1984.
Microsoft’s patent, entitled “Content Distribution Regulation by Viewing User,” was first filed in April of 2011, and was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on November 1 of this year. The patent describes a “content presentation system and method allowing content providers to regulate the presentation of content on a per-user-view basis.”
So what, exactly, does that mean? Well, according to the patent, that means content providers will be able to offer content licenses to customers based not only on time (i.e. “this rental lasts 24 hours”) but also on the number of people watching a movie, for example, or listening to a song or album. Microsoft’s system would then use the Kinect’s camera to actually see how many people are in the room. If it’s more than the amount allowed by the purchased license, the entertainment will stop, and the system (probably Xbox Live) will demand that the customer upgrade to a new license that allows for more viewers.
Or, in the words of the patent itself: “The users consuming the content on a display device are monitored so that if the number of user-views licensed is exceeded, remedial action may be taken.” Furthermore, Microsoft’s technology may enable individuals to be “specifically identified and the amount of their consumption of the content tracked relative to their specific use.”
This is EbenGregory.com…telling you technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.