Feeds

Microsoft patents spy-TV to check you've paid for content

Buying content by the friend

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft has been granted a patent on a content distribution system that uses cameras built into televisions, PCs, and mobile phones to act as a "consumer detector," to enforce DRM licensing terms.

"A fee can be charged for each viewer of the content for each view," Patent US20120278904 reads. "Viewers may be uniquely identified and a count of the viewers determined, with the licensee then charged for each viewer accessing the content. Age and identity restrictions can be applied in this embodiment as well."

Redmond's patent suggests that cameras are not the only tools for checking you've paid up, saying they are "one of a number of suitable technologies." It lists gesture controllers and games consoles being used to spy (not mentioning Kinect or Xboxes by name, but it's a fairly obvious fit). Cameras that can scan on infrared, use "facial recognition techniques," and analyze audio input are also mentioned.

Presumably this level of monitoring would have to be continuous, or else you could just hide your mates behind the sofa for the scan before watching the big game. Fine-tuning it would also be an issue, unless you're going to get billed if someone drops off a cup of tea or a family's overweight Labrador plonks itself down within range of the sensors.

Microsoft spying system patent

Suddenly the XBox doesn't look quite so inviting

The patent is designed to work with both streaming content and downloaded material stored in "RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, DVD or other optical disk storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices." Redmond's patent lawyers are nothing if not thorough.

Google's going to be interested in the patent proposal, as it makes specific mention of a head-mounted computing system with a microphone or camera, such as the Chocolate Factory's Project Glass. Computers worn on the wrist are also covered.

From a digital rights management perspective, the patent is actually quite smart. The logic of using all of these devices that are already in place to make sure people pay their bills makes sense on one level. But El Reg pities the marketing team at Microsoft that gets the task of selling this to the public. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex–Apple CEO John Sculley: Ousting Steve Jobs 'was a mistake'
Twenty-nine years later, post-Pepsi exec has flat-forehead moment
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.