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Thread: Is Dish Spying on me?

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    Is Dish Spying on me?

    I'm sorry if this post seems alarmist, but I have done some research to try to verify the info before posting. I seem to be running into dead ends a lot, so I thought I would ask here.

    I recently read an article (
    TV, Meet the Web. Google Analytics Starts Measuring TV Ads


    ) about Google's new TV Analytics software. Google Claims this service can give advertisers the ability to see "tuning behavior during your ad via second-by-second data from millions of set-top-boxes" (direct quote from
    TV Ads - AdWords - Google


    ) According to the tech crunch article this project is currently limited to Dish Network Advertising. So needless to say my first step is to ask Dish Network about it. Here is how that conversation went:

    Note: I have removed my personal information from the conversation as well as replacing my real name with my Assumed Name on this board

    Please wait while we find a representative to assist you...
    All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
    You have been connected to (MangRF) Sara H.
    (MangRF) Sara H: Thank you for choosing Dish Network the leader in HD and DVR. I will be happy to assist you today. Please give me 2-3 minutes to access your account and review the information you have already provided.
    Agonizing Fury: Hello Sara. you will probably need the number ********** to access my account
    (MangRF) Sara H: thank you
    Agonizing Fury: sorry it's a habit to put my cell phone in web forms
    (MangRF) Sara H: that's ok
    (MangRF) Sara H: we do not give any of your information to advertisers.
    Agonizing Fury: funny because that was actually my question for today.
    Agonizing Fury: I recently read an article about Google's new TV Analytics software which according to Google's Claims can give advertisers the ability to see "tuning behavior during your ad via second-by-second data from millions of set-top-boxes" (direct quote from
    TV Ads - AdWords - Google


    )
    Agonizing Fury: There product offering is currently limited to Dish Network so I was curious how they get this information?
    (MangRF) Sara H: ok, one moment
    (MangRF) Sara H: I was not aware of this.
    (MangRF) Sara H: I can't find any information stating that we do this.
    Agonizing Fury: Nor could I find any information on Dish Netowrks site about what data is actually collected by Dish Network when my receiver is connected to a phone line so I was a little curious
    (MangRF) Sara H: I can tell you that
    (MangRF) Sara H: when the phone line is connected we can view the "health" of you receiver. we are informed when it has technical difficulties
    (MangRF) Sara H: we can also track it's location
    Agonizing Fury: STB Health and Avoidance of account stacking are the ones I already know about. What I want to know is does the receiver transmit any data regarding my viewing habits either anonymously or otherwise?
    (MangRF) Sara H: not that I'm aware of
    (MangRF) Sara H: if it does, we haven't been told about it
    Agonizing Fury: Is there any chance I could get you to escalate this question, and have a reply sent to my email address at *****@gmail.com?
    (MangRF) Sara H: I can submit this to our engineers and when I get a response I can e-mail you back.
    Agonizing Fury: that would be outstanding. Thankyou so much for your time.
    (MangRF) Sara H: Is there anything else I can do for you?
    Agonizing Fury: Nope just that quick question. You have a wonderful night.
    (MangRF) Sara H: Thank you for using Dish Network Live Chat. Have a great day.
    It seems that if they are indeed collecting this info, they certainly want to maintain plausible deniability by not informing their CSRs of it. I am still waiting on a reply to that conversation. I decided to read Dish Network's Privacy Policy (
    DISH Network -- Subscriber Privacy Notice


    ) while I waited and found this interesting little tidbit

    ...the satellite system automatically collects certain information on your use of these services. Most of this information is used to carry out a particular request you make using your remote control or set-top box and is not personally identifiable information. This information may include information required to change your television channel, review listings in an electronic program guide, and pause or fast forward through certain programs, among other information. It may also include other information such as the time you actually use our services and the use of other features of our services, and which menus and menu screens are used most often and the time spent using them...
    It does seem to be limited to when using interactive features, but then again DVR could be considered an interactive feature. The other thing I found interesting about the Privacy policy is it only describes collection and sharing practices with regards to Personally identifiable information. It makes no statements whatsoever about collection or sharing of data that they might consider anonymous (Such as "anonymous" data about subscribers viewing habits). I would really appreciate some info on this from someone who may be more in the know about this than me.

    Agonizing Fury

    Note: I will update you in the event that I receive a reply from dish network regarding this issue.










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    They've been dong this for a long time, as far as I know. But it's not anything personnaly identifiable. Just aggregate data.
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    In that STB_HEALTH file ( search here for an example ) you'll not see your name, address, phone, SSN, driver license, medical records, 401k and tax return for last five years;
    there are full info about your DVR, HDD, LNBFs, signals, clicks, programs, popups, etc.

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    Get your aluminum foil hat on the government is coming to get you. Seriously, do you think everyone is after you?

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    Dish's new satellite EchoStar 11 actually has a camera that is pointed towards Earth... I hear that it is aimed at your bedroom window !

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    I think you guy are really jabbing the OP hard for asking a legitimate question and taking the time to post about his experience here. Any time someone is collecting information from me, about me, or about what I do, I'd like to know what that information contains.

    Now.... that being said.... this is the information age. Companies collect aggregate data in a variety of ways all the time. If it's for their OWN use internally for the purpose of maintenance or improving service or features.... go for it.

    When they start SHARING that collected data with someone else, then I think it's perfectly legitimate to want to know exactly what it is they are sharing, HOW it's being shared, with whom, and for what purpose.
    Have FUN! ... C'mon.... it's only TV
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