New Big Brother TVs will send targeted ads to your computer

Are you one of those multitaskers who likes to watch TV while surfing the Internet? Well if you are, watch out, because upcoming TV sets will be checking what you're watching, and then sending you ads and targeted Internet content based on what you're watching.

The service called Flingo uses a web connected TV that sends information about what content is being watched back to a server, which then forwards targeted web content to any Internet browsing device hooked up to the same connection. For example, if you're watching football on TV and go to Facebook on your laptop, it could open automatically at the NFL's Facebook page.

Flingo likes to emphasize how this can get you to the websites you're likely to want more quickly, but I think we all know what the real plan is. Internet sites already send you targeted advertising based on your surfing habits, but this will allow them to extend their targeting to what's on your TV. Surf Amazon while watching Mad Men, and a link to the DVD box set might pop up in your suggested results list.

The big concern I have is privacy. For example, if you decide to sneak a peek at the Playboy channel while the kids are doing their homework, will their computers get peppered with ads for porn sites? The good news is that Flingo will be an opt in service, and you'll need to give consent before they can start snooping on you.

Perhaps instead of Flingo, they should simply call it Telescreen in honor of George Orwell.

Expect Flingo equipped sets to start hitting the stores before the end of the year.

Flingo, via Technology Review

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