Worried About Your Smart TV Spying On You?

Is Your Smart TV Spying On You?

smart TV spying
It seems today almost every electronic device we own wants access to our Internet connection. Sometimes it's genuinely needed to perform firmware updates or download new features. But when we learned recently about one Reddit user's Samsung Smart TV connecting to a neighbor's unsecured WiFi to send home data. Even after it was disabled from WiFi on his home network.

This takes data mining to an entirely new level.

Your Private Information is Today's Digital Currency

Almost every device that connects to the Internet collects some form of private data. What we buy, read or watch is all fair game to device manufacturers. And they often go to great lengths to harvest this information to sell to data brokers, advertisers or use it for their own purpose.

Your Smart TV May Be Smarter Than You Thought

We like "Dumb TVs" and to be honest have never bothered to use the "Smart Function." When one cord cutter on Reddit removed what he thought was the connection from his Samsung Smart TV to the Internet by disabling WiFi. He thought his privacy was secured.

His Samsung Smart TV had other ideas. Not able to find an unsecured WiFi connection from his home network it then automatically jumped onto the neighbors unprotected WiFi account instead. And then it proceeded to download updates and upload his private information right back to Samsung.

Here is the full excerpt so you can see what lengths he had to go through to protect his privacy. And stop his Samsung Smart TV from phoning home.

Even if you Choose to NOT Connect your Samsung "Smart" TV to WiFi, it will Secretly Connect to your Neighbor's Passwordless WiFi

Worried about your Smart TV listening in? Simply not connecting your Smart TV to your WiFi may not be enough to keep it off the Internet!

"So I just had a rather annoying experience. I own two Samsung Smart TVs, which honestly gave me the heebie jeebies to purchase. With that said, at the end of the day I decided that as long as I didn't hook it up to the net, I'd be good to go.

I've been using them for a few years, and have felt pretty comfortable with the situation, so imagine my surprise when I sit down to watch something on the living room tv (which I don't use all that often) and my show is interrupted by a notification that "SmartHub" had updated.

After digging around in settings for a moment, I realized that one of my next door neighbors had installed an open router with Internet, and my TV had silently automatically connected to it and began doing its normal Internet stuff. I have no idea how long it was connected like that.

After looking through the settings and a few Google searches later, I realized there was no actual way to disable the wireless connection on that TV. It expected an internet connection and intended to get one.

Ultimately, I managed to get it to stop what it was doing by letting it connect to my router and then blocking it via access control.

I then followed up by going into "IP Settings" and setting that to manual, while leaving all the values at 0. It complained but allowed me to keep the setting.

Anyhow, figured I'd share, since I imagine quite a few people here are also not keen on a smart tv connecting to the net, given some of the history surrounding them."

Large Screen Monitor A Dumb Smart TV Alternative

Unfortunately, it's next to impossible anymore to find a TV without some type of "Smart Technology built-in." But a TV monitor will offer the same stunning picture quality and then some as the most expensive Smart TV.

Plug in a 4K Roku, Apple TV 4K or Nvidia Shield into an HDMI port. And then you will have an even better Smart TV that is far smarter and more fun to use.

The bad news is most every media streaming device you plug into your TV monitor except for an HTPC that can access the Internet also collects and sends home data...

TV Tuner Not Included

Another thing absent from TV Monitors is they usually don't include an over the air TV tuner. But if you plan on subscribing to Cable, satellite, a streaming equivalent like Sling TV, PS Vue or Hulu Live this may not be needed.

Otherwise, if you want to watch FREE TV over the air from an antenna, just add a TiVo Roamio or Tablo and you can again watch your local network HD TV channels.

Best TV Monitors

Sony Monitor

1. LG 32UL950-W 32" Class UltraFine™ 4K UHD LED Monitor with Thunderbolt™ 3 (31.5" Diagonal)

2. Sony 75" BRAVIA 4K HDR Professional Display


Better Privacy Controls Are Needed

Until manufacturers are forced to include better privacy controls or give consumers the ability to opt out of data harvesting with any Internet-connected device, we will continue to see our data simply taken. And in the meantime, it will be up to us to continue figuring out workarounds to keep our private data safe from those that chose to misuse it.

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