It's a patent that sounds like a plot description for a science-fiction or the result of Apple's Siri and Google's AdSense mating. With it, Verizon could program its set-top boxes to survey a room to determine relevant ads to display either on your television or . Sound a bit scary? It kind of is.
Verizon's technology can work a variety of ways. For starters, it can listen in on conversations - whether it be with someone else in the room or on the phone - and pick out keywords that would aide it in its duties. In reality, it's simple stuff in this day and age, but that doesn't make it any less off-putting. Imagine arguing with your significant other and then seeing marriage counseling ads on the TV - or better, cuddling and then seeing ads for contraceptives!H/t Borepatch
I used to work for Motorola, back when the very first cellular phones were being tested. It was common knowledge that the new design could be remotely turned on and conversations listened to without the user's knowledge even then.
Big Brother has been hiding in our pockets for years, and we never suspected, most of us.