New book, lawmaker expose Big Brother
technology in the living room
With interactive television every click of your remote control goes into a database. This is called your TV set’s “click stream”, and it can be analyzed to create a surprisingly sophisticated picture of who you are and what motivates you (sometimes called “telegraphics”). Such profiles of households or individuals can then be used to target consumers with direct marketing techniques, through their television, in the mail or over the phone. Your television will be able to show you something, monitor how you respond, and then show you something else, working on you over time until it you exhibit the desired behavior.
Even if you never do order a pizza through your TV set or click or help your child play with an interactive commercial, your iTV set will be ‘interactive’ all the same. What matters is your “click stream” and the people you have never met who will soon be studying it. Such observation and manipulation is not marginal or accidental. From the beginning, it has been built into the designs of interactive systems and the revenue columns of these companies’ business plans.