Intel’s facial-recognition freaks out potential customers

June 8, 2012

Mine and Yinka Adegoke’s story today on Intel’s proposal to use facial-recognition technology with a virtual TV service and set-top box has raised legitimate concerns about allowing Big Brother into consumers’ living rooms.

People’s reluctance to have a camera keep tabs on who is sitting in front of their TV may be a hurdle that Intel has underestimated as it struggles to convince media content providers to hand over their shows.

When I bought a Kinect for my Xbox last year, I felt paranoid for at least a couple of weeks every time I sat down on my sofa in front of my TV. Each time I turn on my Xbox, a camera — connected to Microsoft and the Internet — sees everything I do.

Microsoft doesn’t currently use the Kinect to track who is watching TV in my house, but it has also discussed this possibility with programmers and it might come one day.

For now, I’ve gotten used to Kinect looking at me, just like most people have become accustomed to Google tracking what they do on the web.

Intel is not the only company that wants to use facial recognition to target ads — whether on signs in shopping malls, as in the movie Minority Report, or in the home, so discussion about this issue may only just getting started.

Here are a handful of tweets and comments from on giving up privacy through Intel’s planned TV service:

“If your (set top box) is pointing a camera at me, it won’t be in my house. Period.” — Rob McMillin ‏@scareduck

“Gee, that’s all we need, for kids to be exposed to kid-targeted ads constantly while they’re watching TV. Let’s just do even more to brainwash people who haven’t developed good judgment yet.” — McBob09 on

“Why grind on Intel?! Wouldn’t you want to pay less each month for only the channels you really watch?? The problem here is not Intel, it’s the cable and satellite companies that charge for packages containing useless and never watched channels at a premium!” — wthcares on

“This is so gross. When your TV starts using facial recognition to advertise to you its time to get rid of your TV.” — Durrant Kellogg ‏@durrantkellogg

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