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Court Orders ReplayTV to Spy on Customers for Movie Studios

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Mark A HebertPerson was signed in when posted
01:26 PM ET (US)
hey to large extent I want the networks to know what I like to watch, so mebee I can seymore, but at the same time I'm not hep to haven "them" track how I spin my disk, zipping thru commercials etc, jamming the mature movie roll ins (tho those are blocked now), or other habits that don't track programming choices. I don't need someone to know when I playback my Tivo fun, or even that I played it back at all. It is enough for them to glean the vector of my simpl Romanezk Thumb.
mrmPerson was signed in when posted
07:45 PM ET (US)
I occasionally write technical articles about privacy, and it's amazing how the Internet has mutated in this unintentional way, from providing anonymity in transactions (you can get transfer funds and buy your porn without going to the shop so the neighbors won't know you're an evil pervert), to the state we have today, where every minute detail of activity can be / is logged and shipped over the network. And now the feds weigh in and say not only can companies do it, but they MUST do it. In a way, it's a boon to what most companies want to do but don't because of potential consumer outrage.

If the company does this, I want to file a friend-of-the-court brief to force retrofitting of all VCRs with commercial skipping features so they do the same thing.
bruceePerson was signed in when posted
06:23 PM ET (US)
I've wondered at times what ReplayTV would make of my "viewing habits". I'm an insomniac and enjoy falling asleep in front of the tube. I even have both my ReplayTVs programmed to switch to an innocuous quiet channel at 2am so I don't wake up in loud Paid-Programming hell.

As I often telecommute, my TVs are on for days at a time - even if I'm not watching - recording crap I may want to watch. If the software upgrade makes it to my PVRs I'll program up some IR stuff to rewind and skip based on my NAT logs. "brucee's surfing - music comes on and TVs go silly".
jtlPerson was signed in when posted
06:16 PM ET (US)
Was this a response to a particular lawsuit, or are all four of the studio lawsuits combined at this stage? I'm particularly interested in knowing whether Warner Bros' lawyers were directly involved in this bit.

You can simulate remote control button presses over the network ( -- depending on where in the dataflow the logging is added, that may be good enough.
Edited 05-03-2002 06:21 PM
SongdogPerson was signed in when posted
04:16 PM ET (US)
Bonnie - Yes, something like that. ;)

Dav - People here have done some pretty fancy stuff with remotes and such.

(edited to fix a link - sorry about that)
Edited 05-03-2002 04:17 PM
Erik V. OlsonPerson was signed in when posted
04:05 PM ET (US)
Given that Disney makes RIAA look like caring stewards of the public good, I just can't support them in any shape or form -- which sucks, because I think Cory's plan involving the haunted mansion, a few kilocalories of sugar, and Supre Soakers(TM) is a mighty fine one. If we dump this, the DCMA and the Bono Copyright act, I'm in Space Mountain the next day. Until then, I'll spend *my* money on companies that don't hate me that much for wanting to use the property that I buy.
Dav ColemanPerson was signed in when posted
02:59 PM ET (US)
I wonder how hard it would be to make a little device that randomly sends the infrared remote signals (within a logically deduced safe set (non-disruptive to your stored media or desires)) to the Replay while you're not watching, just to muck up their study? Does x-10 have a unversal remote you could run from heyu?
bonnie burtonPerson was signed in when posted
02:52 PM ET (US)
all the more reason to hack ReplayTV and Tivo, i suppose.

what's next, cameras in my fridge recording what I eat?
Cory DoctorowPerson was signed in when posted
02:50 PM ET (US)
The policy is not reflective of technical capabilities (at least in Replay's case), according to their brief before the magistrate.

Hotgrits, I am capable of loving Tolstoy's novels despite his gambling and womanizing. I am capable of loving Disney's parks despite its corporate bullying.
chico haasPerson was signed in when posted
02:45 PM ET (US)
TiVo's Privacy Policy 4.1: "You may choose to change your privacy preferences to allow TiVo to collect Personally Indentifiable Viewing Information." Meaning the Anonymous Viewing Information TiVo already collects can be tied personally to you with your consent. Replay's privacy policy says the same thing. All this information - what you watch and who you are - is already in their servers. Do they need to "modify" software to connect the two? Am I missing something?
h0tgritsPerson was signed in when posted
02:36 PM ET (US)
It's this kind of evil shit that makes my wonder why All Things Disney still get the royal treatment here on Boingboing.

Disney may have once been benevolent, but ever since they twisted Congress's arm to extend their trademarks, they've been Public Enemy Number One in my book. In my opinion, they are a greedy, unscrupulous corporation and their march towards Total Culture Control must be stopped.
Erik V. OlsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:25 PM ET (US)
According to a lawyer freind of mine, the motion itself was written by Disney. The Disney's spokeperson's response was pretty incredible as well.
SongdogPerson was signed in when posted
01:50 PM ET (US)
Also, FWIW, I believe the court order applies specifically to the Replay 4000 models that have been developed since SonicBlue acquired ReplayTV, and not to the older ReplayTV and Panasonic Showstopper models.
SongdogPerson was signed in when posted
01:50 PM ET (US)
As I recall, ReplayTV's original privacy policy beat TiVo's hands down. Not that it matters now ...
Cory DoctorowPerson was signed in when posted
01:34 PM ET (US)
Chico, TiVo has the capacity to gather *aggregate* stats, not individualized ones. If they were the subject of this order, they'd have to modify their software (and their privacy policy).

ReplayTV does *not* have software in place to gather user stats. However, they *do* have a privacy policy that would allow them to install this software.
chico haasPerson was signed in when posted
01:29 PM ET (US)
Both TiVo and Replay have personal data-gathering technology in place, so, disregarding the imperiousness of the court's demand, exactly what spyware does Replay lack?
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