Perhaps in the current market downturn the media's enthusiasm for privacy stories is waning. The Privacy Foundation issued a major study on an Internet appliance that phones home every night to report details of its owners' actions, and the press responded with cursory coverage.
The Associated Press's D. Ian Hopper got a jump on the story, and many outlets used versions of the AP coverage, most abbreviated to only a few paragraphs. The Privacy Foundation issued its report on Monday, and at least one paper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, ran a substantial portion of Hopper's story on Sunday.
The New York Times featured four slim paragraphs from Reuters, which didn't quote anyone at either TiVo or the Privacy Foundation. Coverage elsewhere quoted TiVo chief privacy officer Matthew Zinn's spin on the report. Judging by the overall thinness of the press coverage, TiVo seems to have warded off any serious PR damage so far.
The San Jose Mercury News and USA Today both assigned reporters to the story, but neither turned up any new angles. Fox News ran 18 paragraphs of Hopper's AP story including this summary quote from David Burke, author of Spy TV: "When we have a television in our homes observing what we do and running little experiments on us, we're either going to get really mad and say that this is too much, or conversely, this will be the end of it. Once people have television in their homes and get used to the idea that they will be observed, the whole issue of privacy is gone."
Snooping on the Couch Potatoes
The Industry Standard
Video Recording Service Compiling Information on Viewers (AP)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Privacy Group Raises Questions About TiVo
New York Times
Privacy Foundation Criticizes TiVo Practices
San Jose Mercury News
Privacy Organization Hits Recorder Maker
Report Shows How Video Recorders Watch Consumers (AP)