February 4, 2007

TiVo sees if you skip those ads [5:50 pm]

TiVo sees if you skip those ads [via Slashdot]

TiVo revealed the other day that it’s offering TV networks and ad agencies a chance to receive second-by- second data about which programs the company’s 4.5 million subscribers are watching and, more importantly, which commercials people are skipping.

[...] “I promise with my hand on a Bible that your data is not being archived and sold,” said Todd Juenger, TiVo’s vice president and general manager of audience research and measurement.

“We don’t know what any particular person is watching,” he said. “We only know what a random, anonymous sampling of our user base is watching.”

Still, privacy advocates say TiVo’s new data service — dubbed StopWatch — reflects the growing ease with which companies could, if they so choose, collect and exploit vast amounts of information about consumers’ everyday habits.

“It’s a constant struggle to maintain your privacy in the modern era,” said Kurt Opsahl, a staff attorney at San Francisco’s Electronic Frontier Foundation. “We have entered an era in which more and more information about you is being collected and maintained.”

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