Of all the “smart” devices, few are more controversial than the smart TV. The idea makes a lot of sense: Combine the best parts of a computer and a television into one super-machine. What could go wrong? Actually new smart TV ‘s have the possibility for spying on you and this is the thing which you need to beware.
Smart TV’s are great. You can do all sorts of things such as send Emails, browse the web, watch YouTube and see what’s going on in social media. Most Smart TV’s also support popular services such as Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, and Hulu.
But good news! There are ways to keep your smart TV from spying on you and from the prying eyes of the company that made it. In fact, there’s one absurdly easy way that will work for any television you can buy. So you can prevent your smart TV from spying on you. Let’s start there.
It sounds pretty scary, but Vizio is the only company that spies by default. You can protect yourself by turning off the TV’s Smart Interactivity by:
- Pressing the menu button on the TV’s remote
- Select the Settings
- Highlight Smart Interactivity
- Press the right arrow to modify the setting to Off
A foolproof way you can keep your Vizio and any brand of smart TV from spying on you is by dumbing it down. Unless it’s necessary, disconnect it from the Internet. You can easily do this by going to “Settings >> WiFi On/Off” toggle and turn it off. It’s a drastic measure, but it’s the best way to go, at least when you’re not using the “smart” feature of your TV.
Samsung asks you if they can track your viewing habits. But if you regret saying yes, there is still something you can do. You can recover your privacy back by:
- Going to Smart Hub menu
- Go to “Terms & Policy”
- Select “SyncPlus and Marketing” and disable it
Since you’re already in that area, it is also recommended that you deactivate the Voice Recognition Services. Back in 2015 Samsung TV’s were found guilty of listening on your conversation if it was within earshot. They said they fixed it, but just in case.
Luckily, most LG TVs don’t use this kind of spy feature as a default setting anymore, so you should be safe. But slightly older sets may have a feature called “Live Plus,” which is essentially the same thing. If you own a current line of the company’s TV’s, then you will be happy to know that they don’t automatically collect your information. The downside is that the older models do. You can easily fix that by going to “Options >> Live Plus >> Turn it off”.
The bulk of high-end Sony TV’s today use Android TV, which means you’re subject to Google’s data-collection practices. Sony itself can also collect data through audio recognition. But the company offers a clear-eyed privacy terms and conditions screen when you first use it, and it’s easy to opt out then.
That should about do it! It’s important to remember that practically any device that’s connected to the internet will probably track you in some way or another. All devices that use internet are vulnerable to hackers. As an example, smart TV spying can be one of the ways through which the device tracking you.
Since there are quite a few brands out there, you can also protect yourself from smart TV spying by keeping the operating systems up to date and never click on attachments and links you’re not sure are safe.
It would also be a good idea to go for a streaming box or dongle for your TV Internet interests. You’ll like them since they are user-friendly and have more features to enjoy as well.
I’m not saying that they will never spy on you, but with these devices, you have more control. They also behave the way you expect them to do. Some TV’s use Android TV and that results in being subject to Google’s rules.
If you have a Sony TV, it can also collect data, but the good news is that they offer clear-eyed privacy terms, and conditions screen the first time you set it up, but you can easily opt out of them.
Some things are better when they are left dumb since no one liked to feel watched. Smart TV’s have their advantages but also have a huge disadvantage as well. Do you think that having a smart TV is worth all the hassle? Drop a comment and let me know.