Ask Gearographer: Is My Smart TV Spying on Me?
I just got a smart TV and love all the options but now my friends say it sends data back to someone who tracks my viewing habits. They also said it can hear conversations and someone is listening. Is this true and if so, how do I stop it?
Paranoid in Pittsburg
You remind me of my old saying, “I’m not paranoid, it’s just everyone is out get me.” To put it bluntly, yes, your TV is a spy. I decided a long time ago I should not have appliances that are smarter than me. If I had followed my rule I would not have bought any device since the 1990s when I traded in my Sony Walkman for an mp3 player.
Your smart TV is probably sending data on what you watch to someone who cares. Television manufacturers Vizio, Samsung and LG have all recently come under fire for these capabilities. The easiest way to disable this function is to press the menu button or open the HDTV settings app, select system, then with your left hand on the TV and your right on the internet cable, yank that puppy out and go back to not so smart TV.
Otherwise you may want to go to the respective website for your TV and get their instructions. Yes, some conversations can be transmitted to third parties through Samsung TVs so either disable this function per their instructions or watch what you say. I’ll have you know, you’re not alone in your paranoia. I’ve been wary of my toaster for a while now and I don’t trust that new coffee maker one bit.
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