Is anyone worried that Tivo tracks what you rewind/review?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Bob McElfresh, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I heard a spokesman for Tivo say something like this the day after the superbowl (KCBS news radio):

    "...the average number of replays for the Superbowl halftime show was about 2. Since there were lots of people who did not rewind during that segment it means the people who did play that clip over did it several times".

    (They were discussing Janet Jackson's costume failure and her body-jewelery)

    This tells me that Tivo collects statistics on:

    - What shows you record
    - What parts you replay

    Did you Tivo subscribers know about this? Does it bother you?
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    There's no need to parse the spokesman's comments. TiVo has always been upfront about what information they do and don't collect. From the TiVo privacy policy:

    BTW, I'd be surprised if TiVo actually tracked rewinds, because the data wouldn't be very informative. Every show I watch has at least one rewind, because someone missed a line or is unclear about some other detail. Collecting those statistics wouldn't tell you anything useful about viewer preferences in my household.

    M.
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Since EVERY Tivo service includes their Basic service, you dont have to give your consent.
     
  4. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    That's not the way Tivo is using the term. What their statement meant was:
    - absent your consent, they can't collect viewing information traceable to a single household on any Tivo.
    - with your consent, they can, but
    - on Tivos using "Tivo basic", which in Tivo's terminology is only available on the Toshiba/Pioneer DVD combo boxes (other boxes use "Tivo full", and don't have a "basic" mode), they don't have a mechanism to take consent and collect the personal viewing information. So, they don't.

    By default, on any Tivo, they are collecting "anonymous viewing data". You can opt out of even this anonymous data selection by contacting them. They don't collect "personal viewing data" except by consent on Tivo full service boxes.
     
  5. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Go ahead and track what I watch and let the networks know also. Maybe next year my favorite TV shows won't get cancelled.

    -Robert
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    If it's not personally identifiable, I don't particularly care. Every time I see a movie or make a purchase or dial a telephone, it gets tabulated somewhere. As long as TiVo's data isn't tracked to me personally, I can't get excited about it.

    As for the rest, I agree with Stephen's reading of the policy. And like the vast majority of TiVo owners, I've never had "basic" service. That's a relatively recent variation, and it's designed to let third-party manufacturers include rudimentary features with their hardware. Most people buy TiVo for the full service.

    M.
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Well, according to this CNN story, TiVo was indeed tracking rewinds. And on reflection, I can see why there'd be a reason to gather information about rewinds of live TV during a special-event broadcast like the Superbowl. Apparently it allowed them to determine which commercials people found most interesting. Maybe this is TiVo's response to the advertisers who are terrified that PVRs spell death to commercials ("not only do people still watch them, but we can even tell you which ones worked best!").

    M.
     
  8. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    TiVo's tracking is common knowledge. Doesn't bother me a bit. You can opt out, but you must call customer service.
     
  9. BrianAe

    BrianAe Second Unit

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    Tracking my Tivo usage is a completely different animal from tracking things on my computer. I don't mind what Tivo does but it will be a long time before I buy any Intuit software again (because of the tracking and that they are producing a lot of crap).
     
  10. Rodney

    Rodney Screenwriter
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    Tivo has always been up front about their tracking policy. Every SuperBowl they give out the statistics. Here is the link to TiVo's site on a PDF for SuperBowl XXXVII.

    You can choose to opt out if you want to (choice is good). I don't mind, as I would like the networks to actually see what I watch, and maybe my shows would stop being cancelled.

    Nope, Boomtown gone, Dragnet gone, First Monday gone...
     
  11. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Supporting Actor

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    Whole new world baby! I'm bettin' companies would pay good money to know that info even if Tivo didn't release it. They may have scored some important brownie points w/ advertisers.

    Peace,

    DM
     
  12. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    It's certainly a concern for me. Just because they might not be crunching the data doesn't mean it's not being collected.

    With all seriousness, it's only a matter of time before this kind of stuff gets subpoenaed by law enforcement (like library records). Perhaps an alleged terrorist likes watching "24" or "Al Jazeera" (excuse the spelling).

    Not good trends imo...
     
  13. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    After thinking about it I just don't care what they do with it. I'm not that paranoid about what I watch or what gets tracked and I'm not worried one bit.
     
  14. Kevin Stewart

    Kevin Stewart Second Unit

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    "It's certainly a concern for me. Just because they might not be crunching the data doesn't mean it's not being collected.

    With all seriousness, it's only a matter of time before this kind of stuff gets subpoenaed by law enforcement (like library records). Perhaps an alleged terrorist likes watching "24" or "Al Jazeera" (excuse the spelling).

    Not good trends imo... "


    Then opt out. What's the big deal?


    Stew
     
  15. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    Two reasons why it's a big deal:

    A) The opt in policy will not remain in place for long. TiVo will have to match competitors (Echostar, SA, etc.) in terms of reporting capabilities and none of these companies have announced opt-out policies.

    B) The opt-in policy doesn't change the fact that the data is being collected. TiVo is saying that they don't mine the data and that we should trust them. Right.... Better would be for the data not to be stored at all.
     
  16. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    Some of the Tivo hacking community has sniffed at the data Tivo uploads - they agree that it's unidentifiable as coming from your machine. So at Tivo HQ, they can't track what you specifically watch; that data stays on your box.
     
  17. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    Stephen:

    Can you please post links to these reports? I'd like to learn more about what's being uploaded.

    Thanks,

    Don
     
  18. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    I don't have direct links but discussion about this sort of thing goes on over at www.slashdot.org , do a search.
     
  19. Shane S.

    Shane S. Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Dish Network "tivo" and I was thinking about the same thing when I noticed there was a "history" I guess I'm not really all that concerned that someone knows what I'm recording pausing or rewinding all in all it really isn't anything new. You don't think Blockbuster knows what you rented or netflix, or that your cable company wants to know what you are watching. (and what about the black hellicopters [​IMG] ) Seriously you get tracked all the time what do you think the grocery store cards are all about.
     
  20. Jon.M

    Jon.M Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know how they can pinpoint the demographics exactly because the TiVo unit (at least my standalone unit) is completely transferrable and so is the lifetime service fee. I could sell or give my unit away and they wouldn't know if it was me watching the programming or the 70 year-old man that I sold it to.
     

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