Microsoft Patent That Requires Paying Attention to Computer Ads

Microsoft Patent That Requires Paying Attention to Computer Ads-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:
The eRumor says that Microsoft had applied for a patent that would force you to look at advertisements on your computer or the computer could be disabled.
The Truth:
The eRumor is based on an article published in the British online tech magazine The Inquirer. (
The patent application is real (#20070033102) and is assigned to Microsoft.  The purpose is to come up with a way that ensures that web ads are really being read and would reward the computer user as a result.  The patent application includes a list of potential ways of doing that such.  For example, delivering paid ads to people who may be asked to answer a question about the ad or indicate in some other way that they really sat in front of their computers, saw the ads, and comprehended what they said.  It mentions the possibility of using some device, perhaps a camera, to view and recognize the face of the person reading the ads.
The article leaves the impression that the average computer user would be penalized for not reading the ads and, perhaps, having your computer disabled but that is misleading.  That would only happen if, for example, you had been given a computer for free in return for seeing the ads and the computer had a way of knowing whether you were really living up to your end of the bargain.
Updated 2-14-07