Smart TVs sharing user data with Netflix and Facebook

Smart TVs are allowing access to sensitive user data by firms including Netflix, Google, and Facebook, revealed two studies.

Researchers from Northeastern University and Imperial College London found that smart TVs made by Samsung and LG, among others, were sharing information such as location and the IP address to Netflix and other companies.

According to the Financial Times, the data was being sent whether or not the user had a Netflix account.

The findings could raise concerns regarding data privacy once again and lead to regulation of smart devices that are invading home privacy.

The Northeastern University study found that Amazon, Google, Akamai and Microsoft were the most frequently contacted companies.

These companies can gather information on competitors, on people’s location and what they are using and even what they are interacting with. They could even know when the person is outside the household.

According to the Financial Times, Netflix said: “Information Netflix receives from smart TVs that are not signed in is confined to how Netflix performs and appears on screen. We do not receive any information about other applications or activity on smart TVs.”

Google said: “Like other publishers, smart TV app developers can use Google’s ad services to show ads against their content or measure the performance of ads. Depending on the user’s chosen preferences on the device and consents, the publisher may share data with Google’s that’s similar to data used for ads in apps or on the web.

“Depending on the device manufacturer or the app owner, data sent to Google could include user location, device type and what the user is watching within a specific app so they can be targeted with personalised advertising.”

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