Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

FC: Satellite TV and Tivo owners, be warned: You have no privacy

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Tue, 01 Apr 2003 10:18:22 -0500 To: From: Declan McCullagh <> Subject: FC: Satellite TV and Tivo owners, be warned: You have no privacy Send reply to:


From: "Hugh Lilly" <> To: <> References: <20030401003352.A1247@attic.tfi> Subject: Fwd: //surveillance// FW: Is Your Television Watching You? Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 18:10:56 +1200


For Politech if you wish. Love the list. Yours and IP are almost all I ever read to keep up with tech issues.


Hugh Lilly.

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On Tuesday, April 01, 2003 6:33 PM +1300 [NZDT], wade tillett <> said:

(thanks to for the link:)

Is Your Television Watching You? By Phillip Swann

Could the federal government find out what you're watching on TV? Even if you're not the subject of a criminal investigation?

If you're a satellite TV or TiVo owner, the answer is yes, according to legal experts and industry officials.

Under the USA Patriot Act, passed a month after the 9/11 terrorist attack, the feds can force a noncable TV operator to disclose every show you have watched. The government just has to say that the request is related to a terrorism investigation, said Jay Stanley, a technology expert for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Under Section 215 of the Act, you don't even have to be the target of the investigation. Plus, your TV provider is prohibited from informing you that the feds have requested your personal information.

"The language is very broad," Mr. Stanley said. "It allows the FBI to force a company to turn over the records of their customers. They don't even need a reasonable suspicion of criminal behavior."

David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington think tank, said the Cable Act of 1984 gives cable operators greater protection against the Patriot Act.


Phillip Swann is president and publisher of He can be reached at

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