Your Smart TV Knows Everything About You And Tells Third Parties


Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork.

~ Part I, Chapter I, Nineteen Eighty-Four

This article doesn’t deal with all the benefits of The Internet of Things, it deals with the dark side.

A few weeks ago I looked at used videocameras online, more as a window shopping experience than a serious venture. Since then, everywhere I travel on the Internet, I am pursued by each of the cameras I looked at, whether it be social media or other news sites, those cameras pop up. The same thing goes on with the pillows I looked at online six months ago – they are still following me around.

That’s only the beginning. All of our “smart” appliances will collect reams of data on us, even our voice messages, and they will share it with third parties including the government.

Last week, Michael Price of the Brennan Center said that he now has a smart TV but is afraid to use it after reading the 46-page privacy policy which basically has people signing away all their privacy rights.

Before buying your “smart TV”, be sure to read the privacy policy no matter how many confusing pages it comprises. You will find that some – and most – log where, when, how and for how long you use the TV. It sets tracking cookies and beacons to detect when you view content or email messages, apps you use, websites you visit, and how you interact with the content. It doesn’t care if you tell it not to track.

Price says, the TV, like your computer, has a built-in camera with facial recognition and a microphone with voice recognition features that hackers or spy agencies could use.

This is constitutionally protected information, Mr. Price reminds us, but – still – the companies get away with it. They will continue to do it until a civil liberties union wins in court or until enough people stop buying them.

Eventually, all appliances, meters, and other objects will be wired. Basically, we will be bugging ourselves.

Prior to becoming CIA director, General Petraeus said, …if you use an app, you are actually bugging your own house.

In 2012, Petraeus said that “web-connected gadgets will “transform” the art of spying – allowing spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.”

Petraeus also said that processors and web connections will be added to previously “dumb” home appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and lighting systems. “Items of interest” will be “located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters’ and they will all be “connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.”

The fact that this was said by a government official – General Petraeus was CIA Director at the time – is concerning. Will the government store it along with our cell phone and computer data?

The NSA has added a wing on the massive Utah Spy Center which is dedicated to spying on Americans. When they do a sweep, as we know, they don’t filter out innocent Americans.

The new technology needs guidelines if we are to keep our 4th amendment rights and it’s not just for smart TVs.