Smart Televisions are tracking everything you do and sending that data to unknown services:
The amount of data this thing collects is staggering. It logs where, when, how, and for how long you use the TV. It sets tracking cookies and beacons designed to detect “when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message.” It records “the apps you use, the websites you visit, and how you interact with content.” It ignores “do-not-track” requests as a considered matter of policy.
It also has a built-in camera — with facial recognition. The purpose is to provide “gesture control” for the TV and enable you to log in to a personalized account using your face. On the upside, the images are saved on the TV instead of uploaded to a corporate server. On the downside, the Internet connection makes the whole TV vulnerable to hackers who have demonstrated the ability to take complete control of the machine.
More troubling is the microphone. The TV boasts a “voice recognition” feature that allows viewers to control the screen with voice commands. But the service comes with a rather ominous warning: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.” Got that? Don’t say personal or sensitive stuff in front of the TV.
In my view, abuse of gaps in the legal coverage will be damaging to the Internet more generally. Combine this is the level of user monitoring and data gathering such as what Verizon is doing:
According to Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis, there’s no way to turn it off. She says that Verizon doesn’t use the UIDH to create customer profiles, and if you opt out of the company’s Relevant Mobile Advertising program (you can do this by logging into your Verizon account here), then Verizon and its advertising partners won’t be using it to create targeted ads. But that’s beside the point, says Hoffman-Andrews. Because Verizon is broadcasting this unique identifier to every website, ad networks could start using it to build a profile of your web activity, even without your consent.
How much privacy & anonymity will we give away before we live in a surveillance state owned and managed by companies for profit ? I wonder when, or even if society will reject this trend ?