Smart TVs Are Tracking Your Viewing Habits To Show You Ads

Smart TVs Are Tracking Your Viewing Habits To Show You Ads

Many companies manufacturing “smart” televisions have been criticized by privacy advocates for harvesting viewing data and providing it to advertisers. The newest report indicates that Vizio is the latest company to commit the offense. Customers were originally not properly disclosed about the practice, although Vizio has since updated its privacy policy.

Vizio’s “Smart Interactivity” feature has been deemed to be exploitative to the privacy of users. The features are turned on by default, and it is integrated in more than 10 million Vizio smart TVs. Users are able to opt out of Smart Interactivity monitoring by disabling the feature on the interface for the TV.

Users who don’t elect to opt out will have their broadcast content and their streamed content analyzed. Information regarding the date, time, and channel will be recorded. The patterns are matched between the TV and the IP address of the viewer.  

While the feature does not specifically identify individuals, analyzers will be able to paint a detailed picture of the viewing habits of an individual or a household. And of course, if the analyzers do obtain a person’s individual IP address, then all privacy is lost.

Using this data, advertisers will be able to create a specific advertisement package for the viewer. Plus, it won’t be used just for televisions. Since everything is linked by the IP address, targeted advertisements will start appearing on the user’s smartphone and computer as well.

Other companies of smart TVs, such as Samsung and LG, have also been known to conduct similar practices. Some TVs made it so that users who refused to allow such monitoring would not be able to use streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube.

Vizio updated its privacy policy to reflect the new feature on October 31.

All of this is just yet another example showing that your personal data is not safe. Now even TV manufacturers want to know what you’re watching. Maybe being “smart” isn’t so good after all.

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