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Privacy & Data

IAPP: Eroding Trust: How New Smart TV Lacks Privacy by Design and Transparency

The following article is a blog post by Justin Brookman, Director of CDT’s Project on Consumer Privacy, for Privacy Perspectives…

A year ago I got a new Samsung DVD player for Christmas. It’s a lovely device that I use most every day—mostly for streaming video from Netflix and Amazon. I apparently can also make Skype calls from it, though I haven’t tried — I’m told there are hundreds of other applications out there, so I’m probably underutilizing the device. But I’ve recently wondered—does Samsung log what I do on the player? Does it send information about my viewing back to Samsung. I . . . I guess I have no idea.
Last week, UK blogger Doctorbeet revealed that his LG Smart TV was reporting back to LG every time he changed the channel. It was also scanning all shared files on his home network and sending a running tally of those back to LG as well. The company allegedly offered an opt-out of “Collection of watching info” in its options menu, but apparently toggling the opt-out didn’t actually do anything. Oh, and all the data was unencrypted, so someone else with access to the network could see the information in the clear. Not the sort of story you want to come out just before Black Friday.