Tinfoil Hats! All the DTV Conspiracies Fit to Print

We’re in the midst of the national digital television switch, an apparent source of inspiration for conspiracy theorists, who are coming out with warnings that DTV will result in big brother-like surveillance, mind control, weather control and even…(dunh, dunh, DUNH!) a massive destructo-beam!

The DTV switch has all sorts of ingredients that make for a hearty conspiracy stew: It was forced upon us by the government, it involves “beaming” and “transmitting” things, and it works through the television, a device found in just about every freedom-loving American’s home.

Worried yet? Well maybe THIS will convince you. A man claims to have found a camera and microphone hidden within his Magnavox DTV converter box!

To be sure, there are those who believe this video may be a hoax (simpletons!), like this guy, who opened up his DTV box and found…no camera or microphone. Or this guy who didn’t find anything either.

One common thread among conspiracy theories ties back to the HAARP program. Located in Alaska, the goal of this High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program is to “further advance our knowledge of the physical and electrical properties of the Earth’s ionosphere which can affect our military and civilian communication and navigation systems.”

Conspiracists believe the analog broadcasts interfered with projects at HAARP, which is run by the military and based on the top-secret work of Nikola Tesla. The switch to digital will pave the way for either mind or weather control, or some kind of death ray, depending on who you ask, as this mini-documentary (crazy-mentary?) claims.

While complicated conspiracy theories are fun (and let’s be honest, fun to make fun of), there are a couple of points to keep in mind. Last year a Comcast (s cmcsa) rep told us the cable giant was experimenting with putting cameras in set-top boxes that could “see” who was in the room watching TV, and the upcoming gesture-controlled televisions from Hitatchi have similar sensors, ones that create a 3D map of your room (and people in it) to recognize the hand movements.

Tinfoil, anyone?