Geekwire.com spotted this new patent a couple days ago. Once the technology outlined in this patent goes live, our fundamental living room experience will forever be changed. Microsoft wants to control (and allow their partners to control) the way we consume content.
Here are the key elements of the Patent:
- MS will use a Kinect, webcam, etc. to physically monitor anyone in the room
- This system will detect the age of the viewers and adjust the content (disallow mature content for kids, etc.)
- The viewers will be counted and you will be forced to purchase extra licenses if too many people are consuming the content
- If someone else enters the room the content may stop until you pay extra or until someone leaves the room
- The system will limit the number of times an individual will be allowed to watch specific content in a certain amount of time
There are many other uses for this technology, all of them disturbing. The system could monitor you for attentiveness during certain segments and then deliver this information to advertisers.
I'm sure some of you are thinking, "I'll just disconnect or cover my webcam/ Kinect." Nope. They will simply withhold content until you "scan in". I'm also sure there are some of you that think this will never actually happen. Let's just step back and look at the way things are going in the world. This is just the type of DRM that "they" want. It will give them the ability to charge per person and they will be able to advertise selectively based upon the individuals consuming the content.
I am see a future where this is integrated into the television sets, consoles, etc. I know I am going a little crazy with all this, but if MS, Hollywood, the NFL, and big media had their way this is exactly how will be in the near future.
The obvious solution is to stop consuming content with draconian DRM schemes like this. I know that isn't going to happen for all of us, so be prepared for extreme invasion of privacy and the most disturbing form of DRM ever. Don't forget to thank Microsoft for the patent.
Let me know what you think about all this. Also, feel free to let me know if there is anything that I have missed.