Is Dish Spying on me?

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Agonizing Fury

Agonizing Fury

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
May 22, 2008
723
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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.
 
S

Smith P.

On Vacation
Oct 4, 2003
8,907
1
Bay Area, CA
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.
 
W

wardfan

SatelliteGuys Guru
May 11, 2008
130
0
Get your aluminum foil hat on the government is coming to get you. Seriously, do you think everyone is after you?
 
kstuart

kstuart

SatelliteGuys Master
Nov 5, 2006
5,206
0
Northern California
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 ! :eek:
 
cparker

cparker

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
May 8, 2007
1,461
7
Sanborn, NY
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.
 
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pabeader

pabeader

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 18, 2004
1,709
0
OTP Georgia
this is 2008, no questions about privacy are ligit. you have not had privcy since the 1960s. the government connected a computer to the phone system to catch 'reds' does the government ever stop doing anything?
i truly hope nobody really thinks they have privacy anywhere in the world. no foil hats required. the thing to remember is that most of our lives are very boring and would not be much fun to watch. computers do this real good and can produce an overall image of what we like to do. then the producers of that type of product or service can start making more. what else do we need? give us what we want and we'll forget how you know.
 
TNGTony

TNGTony

Unashamed Bengal Fan
Sep 7, 2003
10,019
804
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Okay, okay...let's tone down the "evil governemnt and black helicopter" spewing and go back to the subject at hand.

Dish does collect the information from your receiver and piles it along with the others. It does NOT have any personally identifyable info like address. It bundles cities together, I think, by zip code and presents it: here is what viewers in X area are watching.

This has been going on for some time with cable. Dish now has the ability to track this info by the second so that you can precicesly tell whether a commercial is being displayed on the TV (or skipped) and by how many people.

Again, there is no personally identifyable info involved.

BTW, I think only DVR receivers have this capability.

See ya
Tony
 
S

Smith P.

On Vacation
Oct 4, 2003
8,907
1
Bay Area, CA
Well, Tony - Dish always COULD find who is own the DVR/IRD. Then it will be just routine job to get more personal info about the customer (SSN, address, etc).
 
TNGTony

TNGTony

Unashamed Bengal Fan
Sep 7, 2003
10,019
804
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
They could. But they don't. Any company ANYONE does business with COULD do this. But they don't.

See ya
Tony
 
TNGTony

TNGTony

Unashamed Bengal Fan
Sep 7, 2003
10,019
804
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Actually, I am not certain, but I think the program that collects the vewing info doesn't have the capability to distinguish exactly where the info came from beyond the zip code. Again, I am not sure about this.
 
S

Smith P.

On Vacation
Oct 4, 2003
8,907
1
Bay Area, CA
There are IRD number/date/time/ZIP/etc - enough to identify actually who watched what - kid or adult.
 
F

ferl

SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 10, 2006
70
10
Troy, IL
Gimme a frikin break!!!!! Perhaps they will catch us watching the dancing shows.
 
TNGTony

TNGTony

Unashamed Bengal Fan
Sep 7, 2003
10,019
804
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
There are IRD number/date/time/ZIP/etc - enough to identify actually who watched what - kid or adult.

When is the fitting for the tin foil hat?

Really...

I am not certain the IRD number is part of the agragate info.

Again, it could be, but I don't think that is included in the released info.

See ya
Tony
 
Jim5506

Jim5506

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 19, 2004
7,753
2,678
Lubbock, Texas
Those three little eyes on the front of the receiver, one is for IR remote, the other two are cameras for watching us! Stereo vision even.
 
Techfizzle

Techfizzle

Banned
Apr 18, 2008
985
0
the other two "eyes" are for the uhf remote
 
C

crappieguy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 6, 2005
311
0
northwest alabama
Tivo done it for years then sold it to "neilson. They collect your info, then SELL it to the advertisers. That is the TRUE reason for phone line connection. A source of revenue!!!!!
Heck with TIVO they MAKE you pay them for the DVR service then sell the info they collect from you. When I saw the new dish privacy statement, and the "unidentifiable info" clause I posted about it then but was no taken seriously..
 
kstuart

kstuart

SatelliteGuys Master
Nov 5, 2006
5,206
0
Northern California
When is the fitting for the tin foil hat?
TinFoil_DB52B2F1-0E7F-A983-F0F9D799A20B06C8.jpg
 
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