Is your smart TV too smart?

Karesha Buchanan, Staff Writer

Smart TVs have become a thing of the future and the most commonly bought television in the world today. But is your smart TV maybe too smart? 

Researchers say that Smart TVs have become the most widely used type of television since early 2007, and then in 2012 the item boomed into the most bought television in the world. Everybody had to have one, and who wouldn’t want a TV that puts everything in one place? No extra costs for streaming devices like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube, without any hassle because it’s all on the same device. 

Since everyone has one, no one ever stops to consider the possible risks of these devices. For example, data is being sold to other streaming companies which could potentially cause a threat to our encrypted data and information. Streaming companies like Netflix and Hulu have been known to sell user data to third party companies like advertisers and mainstream media providers to better customize advertisement experiences. Since the apps are already built into the devices it makes it easier for them to take data and use it for other purposes. 

A study by students at Princeton University shows that apps like Roku and FireTv were known for sending data to third party apps and advertisers like Google. Many of the apps that get the data aren’t even on the TV, which is even scarier because they are strictly used for the collection of sensitive user data.

Using only voice to navigate through the settings and many apps on these devices can be so much more convenient, but the downside to this is that voice recognition may be listening to private conversations and sending them to other advertisers even when recognition is turned off. Most of the time, the TVs are listening even when consumers think they aren’t. The potential risk is while it is listening in on conversations, it’s also sending precise locations to these companies. This could be a safety issue for some and pose a threat to others. Many of the brands of Smart TVs, including Samsung, LG, Panasonic, and Sony, have denied that these allegations are true, but studies show that this isn’t the case. Researchers have conducted multiple tests on these brands and they all concluded the same thing: data is sent to these companies, for a profit.

How can consumers avoid this issue? We can’t, it is inevitable and we can’t escape it. The question is, are you okay with these mass media companies listening in on your life?