Ah, it’s good to be back. After a brief break to participate and track the election, it’s nice to finally settle back into writing my daily articles. What news do you have for me, world?
Oh good, here I was worried this message of optimism and hope would linger. Thank you, Microsoft, for that hard slap in the face with the cold fish of reality!
So anyway. Microsoft recently patented some new software that would, in effect, watch you while you played a game or watched a movie using a computer’s built-in camera or the Kinetic or something. Why? Well it’s not in the hope of catching you in the nude: It’s a bit worse than that.
“Content is distributed [with] an associated license option on the number of individual consumers or viewers allowed to consume the content. Consumers are presented with a content selection and a choice of licenses allowing consumption of the content,” the patent states. “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.”
Translated out of newspeak, it says that people, upon selecting a movie to watch or something like it, would also select how many people will be watching with them: this software would then kick in and watch you consume the media piece in question to make sure that the number of viewers don’t exceed the number you previously selected. Now, everyone outside a Microsoft lawyer should probably find this at least a little unnerving, but for those of you who simply have technical concerns, don’t worry: the device would be ‘designed’ to make sure that people not watching in the background won’t be counted against your limit. Unless someone is watching over your shoulder without your awareness.
While seeing something like this actually happen in the near future seems unlikely, the implication of the patent is… Troubling. The idea that Microsoft thinks it’s just A-okay to watch people’s homes to make sure three people aren’t watching Cheaper By the Dozen instead of two is just… Well, it certainly shows a disconnect between the consumer and the company; or should I say… Diskinetic?
Yes. Yes I should.