You've heard of the government spying on you and even businesses spying on you. But have you heard of your TV spying on you?!
If you're not familiar with "smart TVs," they are modern flatscreen TVs with built-in apps allowing you to access online content like Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime much more easily than you would access traditional broadcast content.
Samsung smart TVs spy on you
Samsung is getting a lot of heat for smart TVs that can spy on you. In fact, their terms of service says they will spy on you: "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 through your use of Voice Recognition."
So at least they're telling you! But Samsung's response to the criticism they're now facing? "Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously." Yeah, right!
It's like the Verizon thing I told you about a few days ago. Have you heard me talk about Verizon's use of "supercookies"? You've got to pay attention to this because they spy on everything you do on your phone and build a dossier on you. You have to call and ask them to turn off supercookies.
The ability to track what we do everyday in all different ways is a reality. It can be for good or for bad.
Here's the good: The Financial Times of London says Allstate has a voluntary program in Canada where they give you a 25% discount on your homeowners insurance if you allow them real-time diagnostic access to your thermostat, smoke detectors, CO detectors, and water leak detectors.
LG smart TVs spy on you too
Back to the TV topic, Samsung is not alone in spying on you. We learned back in 2013 that LG smart TVs were spying on what, when, and how customers watched whatever they were watching. In addition, LG was gathering the names of files stored on external USB drives that were connected to their smart TVs, according to Consumerist.com.
The information was harvested to share with advertisers and to use for making viewer recommendations. After LG was called out, the company said you could turn the spy feature off. But then it came out that even *after* you supposedly turned it off, they were still spying on you!
So if you have an LG smart TV, there was a firmware update put into place back in 2013 that showed up on your TV. If you accepted it, it allowed you to turn off the spy feature for good.
This is in the category of extra creepy that a TV was spying on your viewing habits. As the company said, "LG regrets any concerns these reports may have caused and will continue to strive to meet the expectations of all our customers and the public. We hope this update clears up any confusion."
Is that the most non-apology apology you've ever heard? Companies undermine their credibility when they make a mistake and still can't admit it. Shame on you, LG.
For further reading:
- Flashlight app settles with FTC over spying
- Opt out of Google's invasion of your privacy
- How you're being tracked at work