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There is compelling evidence that your Smart TV set is literally watching you. Disturbingly, at least a dozen TV manufacturers are tracking your viewing habits for profit.
“People’s data is also increasingly being vacuumed right out of their living rooms via their televisions, sometimes without their knowledge,” Sapna Maheshwari reveals in The New York Times.
A Smart TV is actually a computer connected to the internet, consequently, it can collect data. Not surprisingly, a company called Samba TV is cashing in by selling that data to advertisers.
Frighteningly, Samba TV admits it sold data collected from 13.5 million smart TV sets. To further erode your privacy, Samba has raised $40 million in venture capital to improve data collecting.
Big Business is Watching You through Smart TV
Spying on you through your Smart TV has become a lucrative business. To that end, Mark Cuban the cable company Liberty Global, and Time Warner have invested in Samba TV.
Once installed, Samba’s software can track everything you watch on a second-second by basis. To add to the fear, Samba can identify what shows and ads you see.
“Samba TV has even offered advertisers the ability to base their targeting on whether people watch conservative or liberal media outlets and which party’s presidential debate they watched,” Maheshwari claims.
Smart TV is everywhere
It is important to realize that Smart TVs are common than you think. Maheshwari estimated that 45% of American homes have a Smart TV.
Companies that have apparently installed Samba software in their sets include Sharp, Magnavox, Toshiba, Element, Philips, Sony, Sanyo, Grundig, Seiki, Arcelik, Beko, Westinghouse, AOC, and TCL.
Unfortunately, buying a different TV (other than the brands listed above) will not keep you from being tracked. At least one other company, Alphonso is offering similar software.
How to Keep your Smart TV from Tracking You
Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to keep your Smart TV from conducting surveillance on you. These steps include:
- Cut the cord by getting rid of TV subscriptions. Cable and satellite TV companies are apparently big users of technology like Samba’s.
- Make sure that your Smart TV is NOT connected to the internet. It is important to realize that tracking requires an internet connection.
- Check to see if your TV is connecting to the internet via Wi-Fi without your knowledge.
- Disturbingly, some Smart TVs can automatically connect to the net through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi hotspots.
With all things considered it might be safer to watch old-fashioned over-the-air TV, DVDs, or VHS tapes. In the final analysis, not watching TV at all might be the best way to protect your privacy.