Beware, your TV is watching you

In the past, we were watching TV, nowadays our TV is watching us.

You don’t believe me? Then continue reading…

You may already own one of those so called smart TVs that add Internet access, cloud functions, apps, Facebook, Skype etc. to your living room. So now, we must have everything we need and will love to use all those fancy new functions from our couch by using our remote control, don’t we?

Have you ever had a look to those strange and hidden settings and disclaimers on your TV? If not, maybe it’s time to do now. You will be surprised. Toshiba TVs for instance offers a disclaimer (down the menu after two other trivial disclaimers) which tells you what kind of data Toshiba collects from your TV. The list of what they collect fills a couple of pages and contains information like when and what kind of channel you are watching etc. Of course, this all is enabled and you have to actively disagree to this disclaimer.

Ok, let’s just disagree and we are done. Really ?

LG for instance has a setting called “Collection of watching info” which can be enabled and disabled. But too bad – even if you disable this setting, LG TVs will continue collection everything. So they just don’t care and ignore your decision.

Ok, so they know what I am watching. Who cares ? I personally would, to be honest.

Recently it was found that LG for instance is also interested in knowing what’s on you USB device you connect to the TV. It reads out filenames and sends them home. But because everything we are watching via USB is legal and everybody can know what we are watching, yes, maybe we don’t need to care.

Wait a minute, everybody ?

Yes, potentially everybody with access to your network as this information is not encrypted at all.
I personally don’t like my TV watching me so I just have most of the TVs at home not connected to the internet at all – at least not via WLan. But as the LG case shows, there is not much we can do against it if we connect it to the internet. At least we should not trust our TV.

So again, like I used to say, don’t trust the evil.

Have a nice post-Thanksgiving weekend,

kind regards,
Marcus