Facebook patents system that can use your phone’s mic to monitor TV habits

Facebook downplayed the patent, saying it has no plan to use the system in its products. Photograph: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook has filed to patent a system that can remotely activate the microphone on someone’s phone using inaudible signals broadcast via a television.

The patent application describes a system where an audio fingerprint embedded in TV shows or ads, inaudible to human ears, would trigger the phone, tablet or long-rumoured smart speaker to turn on the microphone and start recording “ambient audio of the content item”. The recording could then be matched to a database of content to allow Facebook to identify what the individual was watching – like Shazam for TV, but without the individual choosing to activate the system.

Diagrams accompanying the patent application highlight how the technology would know which adult or child within a household was watching a particular broadcast.

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Source: The Guardian | Facebook patents system that can use your phone’s mic to monitor TV habits


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