How to stop your Smart TV from watching you!
Your Smart TV is watching and listening to you! In fact, it is also collecting data on everything that you do and this info is being sold.
While you expect this to be done by some hoodie-wearing hacker, it is not. It is done by your TV manufacturer and your streaming service provider!
You can interact with your TV via voice and that means that your TV has a built-in. Some TVs can be operated by waving your hands and that controls the volume or changes the channel. In order for this to work, the TV needs to have a built-in camera.
When you take these into account and the fact that most of us don’t have an anti-virus installed in our TV, is does make it possible for those hoodie-wearing hackers to remotely switch on your camera.
But if we forget the hackers for a moment, the immediate concern is that your TV manufacturer AND legitimate streaming services are actively collecting data on you. And selling that info.
These services are using something called ACR which stands for Automatic Content Recognition.
This tech is used to collect data about what you watch, how you watch it, what you search for, what you like and didn’t like, and many more data points.
This well-meaning tech is supposed to be used to recommend shows that you would want to watch, but this info is also shared with “business partners” so that they can serve you and your family with more targeted ads.
How do you stop your TV from recording you?
There are two places you need to switch this off. One is on the TV itself so that the manufacturer can stop selling your info and the other is in the streaming services.
Let’s start with the TV:
Ideally, you want to Reset your TV to “Factory Defaults”. While this does mean you will have to set it up again, but this time you will lookout for anything that grants the manufacturer permission to track your viewing and record you.
Another option is not to reset the TV but to look for the ACR options that is typically buried deep inside the menu structure. Typically it is under Settings, Privacy or Terms and Policies and you can select or unselect the advertising option there.
If you have a Roku TV then simply follow these steps to stop Roku from keeping tabs on your data and selling it to advertisers:
- Access the Roku Menue with your remote.
- Scroll down to Settings.
- Find Privacy
- Click on Advertising.
- Check on uncheck the Limit ad tracking option
Your TV may have a different menu structure than mine so if you can’t find it, do a Google search.
Note: Before we move onto the streaming providers if your TV has a camera and you don’t use that hand-waving motion to control the TV then just put a piece of tape over it as you do on your laptop.
How to stop your streaming services from selling your info you?
Each one of the streaming services hides this info somewhere in their system. If you can’t find it, you can google it or call customer support and they will help you discover where the options are.
Here are some of the more popular services and where they hide their settings:
How to stop Netflix from spying on your viewing history –
- Sign-in to your account at Netflix.com
- Click on your profile pic.
- Click scroll down to Profile and Parental Controls.
- Click your account.
- Click Viewing Activity.
- Click on the icon next to each entry to remove it
- You can remove the entire search history if you scroll to the bottom of that page and click on Hide All.
As a bonus: you can request a copy of the info that Netflix stores on you!
How to stop Amazon Prime from spying on you –
- Access your Amazon account on Amazon.com
- Hover over Accounts & Lists
- Click Your Account.
- Scroll to the bottom where under the “Communication and content” section click on Advertising preferences.
- Click on Do not show me interest-based ads provided by Amazon.
- Click Submit.
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