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When we watch TV, our TVs watch us back and track our habits. This practice has exploded recently since it hasn’t faced much public scrutiny. But in the last few days, not one but *three* papers have dropped that uncover the extent of tracking on TVs. Let me tell you about them.
334 replies and sub-replies as of Sep 29 2019

The first paper looked at Roku and Amazon Fire TV. These platforms let you subscribe to “channels”, which are basically apps. As you can guess, they are loaded with trackers. Doubleclick alone is on 97.5% of Roku channels.…
There are some channels with over 50 trackers. Also, the majority of trackers were able to grab a unique ID such as MAC address. A few channels leaked email addresses to trackers and many leaked video titles⁠—often unencrypted, so your viewing history is exposed on the network.
Reverse engineering is hard. The paper was possible due to the hard work and ingenuity of the five PhD/postdoc authors Hooman Moghaddam, Gunes Acar, @baburges, @aruneshmathur, and @danny_y_huang. The other authors are @feamster, @EdFelten, @prateekmittal_, and me.
The most technically challenging part of the paper was building a bot to automatically install thousands of channels, launch each channel, navigate to a video, watch it until encountering an ad, and collect data on everything that happens behind the scenes.
Here’s a doozy: Roku has a “Limit Ad Tracking” option. Turning it on increased the number of tracking servers contacted 🙃 It did prevent Roku’s AD ID from being leaked, but a whole bunch of other unique IDs are available. Even Pi-hole wasn’t that effective at limiting tracking.
The second paper is by researchers at Northeastern University and Imperial College London. They have an impresive testing setup!… Here’s a thread from one of the authors:
Very excited to announce the release of our @ACMIMC2019 paper on information exposure from IoT devices, joint work with @jingjing_ren @DanielJDubois @ammandalari @KolcunRoman and @realhamed! You can find the paper, data, and code here:
They analyzed 81 IoT devices including five smart TVs. Their method was quite different from ours: they did controlled experiments. This is powerful: for example, they can test if devices phone home when someone starts talking or moving. Good news: none of the TVs did. Bad news:
Some of their findings are what you’d intuitively expect: devices made by Chinese companies tend to talk to Chinese servers. Others findings are more surprising: Nearly all TVs they tested contacted Netflix, even though they never configured any TV with a Netflix account (?!?!)
The third paper is from my colleagues @danny_y_huang Noah Apthorpe Gunes Acar @frankli714 @feamster (I wasn't involved). They built software called IoT Inspector that lets you examine your own IoT devices and, in exchange, contribute data for research.
It’s a really neat tool that I’ve tweeted before. Over 4,300 people have installed it and the team has just released their first set of findings using data on 45,000 devices, including nearly a thousand TVs from 19 vendors.…
My colleagues have released a neat tool you can use to monitor — and be creeped out by — your "smart" devices @kashhill found her coffee pot sending data to Microsoft and her Echo connecting to 17 different domains every few minutes when *not* being used.
Kashmir Hill on Twitter
“Last year, I monitored my smart home to see what it was doing. Now, Princeton researchers have created a tool that will let you do it too:”
(By the way, what I love love love about the three papers released near-simultaneously is that we now have three different ways to interrogate Smart TVs and IoT devices. It bodes well for future efforts to uncover tracking and surveillance in our homes.)
IoT inspector’s findings on TV tracking are consistent with the other 2 papers. In their sample, they find about half the TVs talked to tracking services (the authors tell me they think this is an undercount because many of the TVs were turned on only briefly during the study).
One creepy finding in this study is that some TVs connect to Automatic Content Recognition services. ACR involves sending a “fingerprint” of your screen contents to a server, say once a second, for a Shazam-like algorithm to figure out what you’re watching to serve you ads.
OK, so our TVs are watching us. Is that so bad? Well, TVs are going down the same road that turned the web & smartphone apps into a cesspit of surveillance. I worry that things like TVs ads emitting ultrasonic beacons for analytics will become more common.…
It’s unfortunate that TV platforms are turning to targeted ads as the main way to make money. To maximize revenue, they will likely turn to data mining and algorithmic personalization/persuasion to keep people glued to the screen as long as possible.
Roku’s advertising business is outpacing its hardware business - Digiday
Roku's platform revenue, which includes advertising, exceeded the money it makes from connected TV device sales for the second straight quarter.
Unlike web tracking, our ability to control tracking on TVs is also limited, because TVs are closed platforms and there is no analog of browser extensions. And, in a familiar story, the law and regulations are easily worked around.…
I'm sorry to leave this thread without a satisfying conclusion. It's not obvious what's the most effective way to push back against privacy intrusions in our homes. I think more awareness is a necessary first step, and I see the recent papers as progress. I hope more will follow.
There are steps we can take. Stay away from vendors whose business model is targeted ads. Every device is a potential tracker; do your research before buying. Install tools that give you control, such as Pi-hole, even if imperfect. Install a monitoring tool on your home network.
These individual steps are not enough: we need collective action. Researchers must keep doing our part; we look forward to teaming up with journalists, civil society organizations, and the public, so that we can choose our future, not sleepwalk into it one channel at a time.
Are you going to federate forces?
The idea is disimulating the real data with fake data, just like noise could cover a talk to make it inaudible. Can’t we do the same with data collection?
Have you looked at TVs that could use LoRa in the future? Would this make it harder to determine what the TV is doing?
Is there a way for me to basically scramble the signal they get by randomly accessing shows while I am not paying attention?
and this is why i use kodi for netflix
You should take a look at the NAI 2020 revised Code of Conduct. Lots of TV-related updates.
Many thanks for the thread... going to dunk my Roku in some cold water... I don't and will never have cloud enabled voice services in my house... but thanks once again for producing proof of what we have 'guessed' so far!
Is Apple TV doing this too?
Do these companies turn evidence over to cops without a warrant?
There is a paper published on how you can find the programs and behaviour based on TV energy consumption as well
did you see that Cambridge Analytica said TiVo was one of their data sources? Facebook was actually ancillary to their model credit data was base layer
They even used @TiVo data (note: you can find out how to opt out of @TiVo selling your data here…) here is a broad look at Set Top Box data selling:…
"If we can't trust the service provider, at least in the immediate term, what can we do from outside of the system to try to counter these externalities?" New interview w/ @sedyst & @bekah_overdorf, on their work on Protective Optimization Technologies.
Counter-Optimizing the Crisis
Research, analysis, commentary.
you may find this interesting reading -…
Thanks for this insightful thread and all the research papers.
Thanks for sharing Arvind. Whats cool is probably creepy too these days!!
I have Apple TV, which doesn’t seem to be mentioned in this article. I’m guessing using the Netflix app on there will still do a lot of analytics but hopefully the situation is a better.
So when do we get Apple Private TV.
Fascinating thread, thanks for posting. Installing Pi-hole, monitoring tools etc — this advice is great for a tiny % of the population: those who have the technical knowledge, time and resources to follow it. The rest of us need better *systems*: regulatory and technical.
Hey, what do you mean by "monitoring tool" to install on home network? Is this desktop software or hardware or a mobile app or router software...?
I would like to know this too, paid or otherwise. Something that can interface with a fairly standard, off the shelf router (Xfinity, TP Link, etc)
I use a Google Wifi router (just one) w/ Dlink cable modem (both my own equipment) on Comcast, so while I'm sure Google is spying on me already, I'd like to minimize everyone else's data collection
What kind of analytics/monitoring does that offer? Do you have some options to see what domains your devices are hitting?
Oh I'll look into that for the Google Wifi. I've never looked at anything with the Dlink modem after confirming it was set up and probably setting new admin passwords
Now I need to get a list of all the trackers these projects found, so I can add them to my blocklist!
AFAIK there are no new Smart TVs on the market that come without ACR. Vizio has its own, Samsung (still I think) has its own, and most of the other brands take it from someone else. And I used to work at one of the companies providing ACR software to TV brands.
Mm.. 'do not connect your 60" computer monitor to any network' would work too 🧐
What about a managed list of tracker servers that people can use in home firewalls to block large amounts of connection activity?
Monitoring tool for the home network... such as? Apart from Pi-Hole...
Pihole really only tells you about DNS requests. You would need some kind of DPI to see other requests or the contents of any requests.
have any info on firewall blacklists for roku? can these tracking domains be blacklisted without breaking streaming functionality?
great thread, thanks. Can you recommend monitoring tools that the average Joe can use for Windows (or installed on a nas to run in the background) ta
Can you be more specific about “install a monitoring tool”? Can you recommend a tool, or at least give an example?
^^^This - avoid targeted ad platforms. My conclusion as I read. Resist that. Your convenience is not that important. And doing that undercuts a lot that's bad, *almost* to the source of our problems.
I have given up on privacy as governments constantly violate human rights in the name of self preservation.
Noisy WiFi routers that scream backspace that the data collected doesn’t make any sense.
I have a solution: no TV, just general purpose computers and big dumb screens.
I've been doing this for years! My tv is offline (never even configured wifi or cable in it). I don't pay for cable tv either, I just use the web to have access to media content. I use chromeCast to avoid cables, though...wonder if there are any open/safe/private alternative!
Hope we get to BraveCast.
BraveCast will be awesome! Even better if it could offer a way for the screen to become a second (extended) screen for a computer or phone. This is VERY poor in chrome cast and I would probably use daily! Specially in meeting rooms, for example :)
I want to be in on the beta.
If TVs use ultrasound, then it doesn't matter if it's connected or not to your Internet, it'll hitchhike via your phone instead. I also use a PC instead of a Chromecast to watch stuff online.
The ultrasound trackers need blocking on the receiver (phone) end, indeed.
Thing is, what's the range on them? Could they start reaching for my neighbour's data? What other tech can they contact without your knowledge?
Because we're doing so well with privacy on that platform, right? 😭
We are doing much better on general purpose computers, yes. Are you using Brave, or else uBO on Firefox?
No disrespect to Brave, I love the project and it's fighting the good fight for the user, but it exists specifically BECAUSE the existing ecosystem is so toxic to our privacy, and the arms race continues to rage. It's certainly not a solved problem yet!
And beyond the ad-driven web, our operating systems are recording and sharing our activities - I can download a list of every time I switched between apps on my phone, and I'm positive it can be mined for behavioral information - what I do each day, what I'm stressed about, etc
Windows even tells you now, straight up - it's not a product, it's a service, we no longer own our computing devices, we rent the computing equivalent of Nielsen boxes from advertising-funded companies
Yeah, Windows. I avoid.
Those of us who know it's happening can make informed decisions about which products and services we use, but most people have no idea - they don't know it's happening, let alone how deep it goes, or how thoroughly corrupted, fraudulent, and desperate the ad industry really is.
I agree that things are trending in the right direction for the user, project like Brave are doing a great job of bringing awareness to and protection from the problem...but I wonder what comes next, when the existing models completely crumble because enough people caught on
BAT and the like provide alternatives to people who are willing to embrace the change, but many publishers are going to fight tooth and nail, and,'ll be interesting to see how they "innovate" in that space
Lead users, intransigent minorities, can and do shape markets, standards, laws. Never give up!
No “solved” state on networks with peers running on fat sloppy stacks, but that doesn’t mean we should give up. Raise costs of tracking and provide better paying private alternatives. It’ll take time, regulators, and privacy-first products that users pick — but trend is good.
I've the most effective way: my old cathodic TV which has no clue what internet is :D
use a dumb tv with a linux media pc, FF with ad blockers etc, and pi-hole should make a good start
I wish I could buy a dumb screen now but that's not a thing, my only real option is either buy an old CRT TV because I know for a fact those don't transmit shit online (which I have) or use computer monitors.
Unplug. Read paper books.
Have any new TV required the WiFi/Ethernet to be used or be setup/installed? ie: if someone uses an external computer to feed them as screens, then they are just dumb bricks and can't spy if not connected.
Awareness is a great first step, and research like this is compelling. That being said, there are analogies in other industries like food that point toward solutions. For example...
Food scientists don’t have to reverse engineer pop tarts and granola bars to see how much saturated fat and sodium they contain. Mandatory nutrition labels require food companies to disclose this.
We could require nutrition labels for surveillance on TVs and other devices. Regulation could require them to present a scrolling list of the trackers they use and the third parties the data is sold to every time they are turned on.
Legislation. That's it, period. That's the only thing that has ever actually worked, at the end of the day.
Here's my @Roku box here in Australia (branded @Telstra TV) - I've not turned it on for 6 weeks, but it dutifully pings @NetflixANZ over 200 times a day.
This whole thread is a wonderful example of communicating important research results to a wider audience. You are very good at that and thank you so much
If data is widely collected by various IoTs plus webriwsing, pixels, Java Scipt, Socia media etc,can we blur the reality by flanking lots of fake data in the middle?
No, because they collect whatever they can get, apply some algo and believe whatever comes out. The result may change, but they will believe in it anyway. #religion You'll get ads for Brexitparty and washing machines whatever you inject. FB is different though
That’s the idea. They collect what ever they can. So@lets over feed them with garbage. It won’t make any sense at the end of the data is muddled up with fake noise
Don't get me wrong, this is still dangerous. In trying to predict us we are classified with unpredictable results. The collection is one side, the discrimination is the other side.
If I pretend to be Brexiter and liberal and pro DT while a n’annoncer supporter and socialist and marching for the planet and...... who am I ?
not important as long as someone pays to buy your profile and inundate you for what he believes you are. Again, watching communication like here or FB is different as the system remembers better than you do.
If Cambridge Analytica was faced with many muddled up profiles, what could have they done ?
We only believe that they have done anything. We mix coincidence and correlation and ignore causality. At least I have not seen anything standing scientific scrutiny. Science also earns money with populism, isn't it? Again, doesn't mean we shouldn't take seriously.
Did they really need Cambridge Analytica to know that the NHS was so dear to the population and that they could turn them with a lie on a bus?
Once again, this is why we need to FOSS all the things... RMS despite his recent drama, was and is right about software/hardware freedom.
and most TVs *are* partially free already (they all run some for of linux or use ffmpeg). That does not help too much atm but still needs some political action to make it actually useful.
Thank you for your work. You think ABP syntax’d blocklists in a n/w wide HTTP proxy will block most of these? Ex: diladele dot com. Firefox has opened a can of worms by doing DoH, setting a precedent for all ‘apps’ to start doing their own DoH, making it indistinguish.. from HTTP
That's a really interesting point. You can divert any DNS query to hard coded server on port 50, but can do nothing about hard coded DOH.
TV ads have been using targeted ads to make money for years. This isn’t a conspiracy- this is just modern day advertising, you’re behind the times.
Vudu lets you choose between creating a new user account using your email or signing in with your Walmart account, further targeting the ads you see while watching their free content
I will have to object here. Is surveillance of your life by any third party good in any scenario ? Especially without clear consent ? Answer: No it isn't. The fact that the industry tilts that way is not an indicator of correctness, but a staple of how little control (1/?)
(ct'd) we have as users and beneficiaries of the tech. Not everyone has the know how to block all monitoring be it on PC's and phones, but every one and their children potentially have a TV in their bedroom (especially in the US). Should this disturb you ? (2/?)
Short answer: Of course ! Not only is your privacy at stake, but your identity too. Because let's face it, if analytics poll these resources and let third party API's (ie. Netflix or advert services) in the neighborhood of this data, then anyone's second cousin with a (3/?)
(ct'd) geeky shirt can find something to exploit, either using the increasingly standardised I/O or breaches in the API, which are probably never going to be correctly patched. Wat can an advert API see ? Does something catch your eye, are you actively looking at (4/?)
(ct'd) content, what are your regular hours, what is your sleep cycle, do you have a video game console, does your child watch p0rn, and so much more. How you interact with everyday IoT objects gives a lot of insight into who you are, don't use it as a throwaway joke. (6/6)
Geeky shirts now optional. I don't know if The Spinner amounts to more than dubious hype, but by harvesting information second-hand from those who know you best, it seems to neatly bridge the gap between social engineering and electronic surveillance.…
No to mention, you're paying for data that they're then using for their own profit.
Any idea about just what Set Top boxes in India are capable of?
How about the Indian versions? What sort of sensors do these have? Why did the Govt mandate THESE over the earlier cable connections etc.? Has anyone scanned these for unauthorised data transmissions?
What type of storage would that entail? That’s got to be massive. BigData for sure. How is the data mined? What are they using for BI?
What's the chances someone like Zuckerberg has used this technology to goad @tylerwinklevoss & @winklevoss through their own TV sets📺with perfectly timed "coincidental" adverts. We'd never be able to prove anything....or would we ?🤔
Maybe I'm to paranoid but that's what I always thought "Smart TV" actually means.
You say this is a finding - I thought this was fairly well known, one being called Samba, with an off setting on my Sony Bravia (albeit behind dark patterns to make it fiddly).
This is some worst level thing. Apart from tracking by the content providers/marketplaces like youtube, prime, Netflix. TV manufacturers themselves trying to figure out what people are watching.. 🤦🏿‍♂️🤦🏿‍♂️
Eventually, TV's will be able to scan the room determine your decor & life style & send you relivant Ads. Is that good? I prefer to keep my business to myself. Thank you very much. 🤓 Good article. Big Brother is Watching you Watch 📺
Be informed, your car is/will be tracking you as well.
Question about the other side of the interface- does any of your research explore the addressable TV market, or the ad networks that mediate programmatic TV ad inventory sales and targeting?
Just a quick question.... did you sniff the hdmi on your smart TVs? A friend spent quite a long time trying to isolate his cheap smartTV from the worst of the tracking stuff, only to find the traffic coming out his blu-ray player instead.... sneaky!
10 devices per person? That’s a power user group they have there.
Some IoT devices are leased by 'Smart Cities' in exchange for unfettered access to data about citizen habits in the public sphere. 1/2
I've worked on this. Specifically how to create an API that assures compliance with gov. (and citizen set) privacy policies in endpoint IoT devices. Making the logic of a wide array of privacy policies automatically consumable for devices is the challenge. Ongoing project...
I'd be curious whether Netflix contributes to TV operating systems, with code or $. Do TV manus usually write their own, or is there a dominant one that they all config and skin...
Although they didn't configure a Netflix account, I might have an explanation for this. Note: I'm a Smart TV app dev. Many TVs have a preview mode for hot-linking, which fetches promoted content for apps, so the TVs could just be fetching Netflix json feed.
“I like” MUST be an unintended trigger. No way they did it intentionally to unethically steal data about preferences 🙄
Frequently it will appear as an unintended bug, but when the engineer proposes fixing it, the manager will claim it was already fixed by a different team, or something of that nature.
Reread the post. It only triggered if the next sound after “I like” was an S sound. It’s clearly mistaking “I like s...” for “Alex...” I hate amazon and Alexa as much as anyone but it’s important to hate them for real things, not imagined ones.
You mean like employees and contractors secretly having authorized access to listen to recordings without the permission of the user for “research purposes”? I get what you are saying, don’t get me wrong, but I would encourage not taking them for their word.
No, that one’s real.
So do you trust that this is actually in error or are you just saying don’t jump to conclusions?
I’m saying that if it triggered every time someone said “I like” then I would think it was intentional, but in the experiment it only triggered when “I like” was followed by with a word starting with S. That’s not marketing, that’s a computer mistaking “ilikes” for “alex”.
I found my seldom used Kindle Fire was low on space, did some digging to try and find out why. I discovered at some point Amazon had installed Alexia, and even though I was not aware it was even there, let alone used it, it had accumulated 500+ MB of data. Marvelous.
For the ring doorbell: I thought it was obvious that it would record based on movement, it is one of the headline features. It also has a red light on the front when triggered.
That's exactly what Ring is supposed to do. No one buys a Ring doorbell without knowing it's going to record movements in front of your door. Everyone knows it's subscription based. Except these researchers, apparently.
I kind of take issue with their accessment of the Ring Video doorbell. Taking video whenever someone walks in front of the doorbell is really the entire point of the device. It is not some secret unexpected action.
Two ships passing in the night on the pi-hole question. Thanks for addressing!
This is surprising, since the URL list includes a number of the urls pi-hole's lists block (double-click, google, amazon, and a few others I recognize) - does pi-hole need better block lists to combat this?
Similar issue via the @guardian privacy settings to opt out, @AppNexus asks to allow an opt out cookie.
(No comment)
Now that is a very interesting point. Even a device, used by experts (or at least very techie people), "wasn't effective at limiting tracking".
Why wasn’t the pihole effective? It’s an all or nothing with it installed.
Why was pi-hole ineffective, are these tva running their own DNS?
Who built the bot?
what's going on here? why should i even bother using your TV app if you're using so many trackers you make it into the top 10 of a paper?
If one configures the device DNS to point to a local pi-hole, does that kill the tracking? Obviously not a privacy-by-default option, but genuinely curious as to pi-hole effectiveness outside of web browsing.
It can definitely help, since most of these are third party domains not involved in content delivery. Some of the tracking attempts are so heinous that it tries to report every time you push a button in some apps/channels.
I use #nextdns to block both ads and trackers precisely due to the above
You mention smart tvs in the future work section, but it would be interesting to see if devices that sell privacy as a feature help in preventing apps from collecting identifying data. For example what is the difference in data sent between Netflix on Roku and Netflix on AppleTV.
Trackers the upsell of a cookie - @GilbertHill an expert on the topic of cookies/tracking/privacy may have a view.
have a look at this thread.
Important work on behalf of Privacy @random_walker and thanks for sharing @Asher_Wolf - reverse engineering for good! #dataprivacy
Excellent work! Can you recommend information about trackers deployed on European online TV channels, for those of us who hook up our TVs to a computer via HDMI & use a VPN (and never connect the TV via ethernet or wifi)? Do smartTVs transmit info without internet connection?
This is interesting. I just assume, by now, that someone, somewhere is tracking everything I’m doing. And I just can’t get worked up about it anymore, to be honest.
Not necessarily with video. But, for ex, as I understand, a security bug in the new iPhone OS 13 is that it allows some apps to track all your keystrokes, including passwords, etc. A major privacy/security threat. They’ll patch it - but it’s an ex. of what I’m talking about...
It’s already patched.
Hey @AdamMBrady how badly is our TV setup tracking us?
I opted-out of every checkbox and turned off every feature beyond display images. That said, we sign in to Netflix and YouTube on the TV, so somebody knows what we watch regardless.
A salient point is smart TVs are paid for by consumers, not free like ad-supported models where consumer info is the product. @Samsung, @LGUS et al do not allow deleting ALL 3rd party apps. TV privacy settings don't cover apps & apps have no individual controls. @NewYorkStateAG
I don’t have the quote handy, but one major tv mfr was recently (3-6mo) saying how they sell the TVs at roughly cost, and make their profit on the tracking
I remember that too. Essentially they said that they couldn't afford to sell dumb TVs anymore because they depend on the data collection to make money.
That would be Vizio. Makes more money from data than tv sales.
I would really like to get the source on this.
I’m not going to track down the podcast quoted, but here’s a screenshot from business insider that should get you there
"its not just about data collection. It's about post-purchase monetisation on the TV." Soooo... Data collection then, Baxter?
I think the distinction is internal data collection for business purposes vs data harvesting for sale
So is there a good TV without tracking at all? Or is this even a market gap?
Ok, assuming you can just disconnect it from the web and only use the video in function. ;-)
in case it saves anyone else time, here's deep links to opt out of as much sharing as possible (which is, as these papers explain, not nearly enough): LG: Roku: Samsung: Vizio:
the simplest way to opt out is to not use them at all
For networking enthusiasts such as myself, put your TV in a separate VLAN with no Internet connection. Use your TV as a TV but with no Netflix or Fire TV.
Kind of defeats the whole purpose of buying a smart TV in the first place, doesn't it?
True. But you can't find a non-smart TV in the market, can you?
if you insist on having only the newest and finest probably. conspicuous consumption is creating vast toxic waste dumps filled with yesterday's electronics. obviously there are still zillions of TVs that don't eavesdrop on you or watch you watching back.
Good point. They might not be as easy to find.
We have a Panasonic Smart TV, we joined it to the wifi for about 20 mins, saw how many servers it was talking to, and just turned off the wifi on it. We already have an Apple TV, we didn't want a smart TV, just everything 4k/HDR seems to be a 'smart' TV now.
You can put your tv in a vlan behind a firewall that filters all the ad tracking websites.
it doesn't really help anything to continue paying megacorps to track everything you do including your pulse + how often you go to the bathroom. you already expressed consent with your money. circumventing it is still consuming it and supporting further development. just opt out.
For what? These pixels don’t store any personally identifying information about you. You’re basically allocated an #ID so the ads you see fit your preferences- you can opt out, but it’s basically pointless
Any fundings on ‘chromecast’?
It's because TVs are computers now.
Missed out on the class action lawsuit participation date for the Visio TV that defaulted to spy on you.
Keep your TV in an AirBnB (like me), or an airport, or Times Square. Any way to fool the devices with streams of false data?
that's why the smart TV to have is a non network connected one and just watch digital broadcast over the air TV ;)
Really? The trash tv that’s on the major networks in the US is so bad that limiting your options like that isn’t worth the faux hysteria over ad tracking.
acho que vais gostar de ler isto!
vou ler mais logo, obrigado.
Just turn the damn thing off and we’ll all be happier. No need to write or read papers to know that. Turn the damn thing off!
off doesn't mean off. every electronic device has a "sleep" mode. and they spy during that. only way to be sure is to cut the power, and even then things like telephones and computers are necessary for a lot of things in everyday life
You damn betcha! Even better! Unplug it!
wait, we need more reasons to turn the TV off? @yaakosine
Exactly. Turn that sh*t off.
Mine will find I watch a lot of Homes Under the Hammer. They are welcome to this snippet of information.
But there's a big the loo!
Public scrutiny won't do jack. The rabble just wants its entertainment.
Give us tools to poison the well. If I cannot send no data, I want to send a lot of lies.
When were the rabble, your family, children, neighbors ever given a chance to make a well informed choice regarding this surveillance business and economy model. (terms of service is not a valid example as they can & are changed on the fly/after the fact)
Exactly, never. And under the yoke of Democracy, it looks like our fault.
Have you seen this thread/papers yet?
This is interesting and one has to wonder what the implications are regarding privacy legislation such as gdpr
My current TV was purchased almost 10 years ago before all the tracking madness was embedded in. When it dies, I wont be replacing it.
Depending on what screen size you need and how works TV in your country, maybe a PC screen could fit. We have a 27' one as main screen at home since 2011, and there's not a single day I regret this choice.
This is one of the reasons I got an LG "commercial panel," meant for hotels and displays. No Netflix or other apps, and if connecting to the Internet apparently only tries to update its firmware. I like my dumb TV :)
That is a really good idea, you get the tech without the privacy invasion.
do you really think these companies arent spying on each other too?
Thanks, this is v interesting and scary. Do you know if there is any research to find out it targeted ads make companies more money than non-targeted ads?
Has any government or public body put together robust policy on consumer protection for IoTs (i.e. not just hardware safety but also software obsolescence and infringement of privacy)? If so, I think more still need to be done on raising awareness about consumer rights in IoTs.
Isn't that one of the countries that was looking to ban strong encryption schemes?
It all still falls under GDPR however it a European country's agency to enforce it harshly.
Surprise! Oh wait, no it's not. BTW, your cable provider probably tracks even more.
not if it's a dumb tv...
read this thread
Opening pages of Orwell's 1984
people pay for the privilege of being spied on. that's the difference. big brother is just as much corporations as it is the state. it's an inevitable result of capitalism
you guys should deffo write an article on this!
Fascinating. Also, frightening. #privacy
Why are people so surprised and shocked by this? If you want the privilege of watching TV you need to accept that these companies and their staff need a salary. Those salaries are paid by advertising, that advertising is sold to brands. 🤷🏽‍♀️
And these brands want to target the RIGHT people with their ads - so pixel trackers make sure your viewing habits bucket you into the right targeting pools.
In my 5 years of digital advertising I can promise that NO media seller (including any TV/VOD supplier) wants your viewing habits to be a public commodity, all media suppliers are extremely stringent about how the data is used
The data should provide only a symbiotic relationship between the user and their viewing experience (including some ads which fit their tastes), the supplier, and the brand who are paying for ads.
You also need to remember that when you watch these TV channels and download an app you are AGREEING to their terms that they use advertising!! Don’t like it: go do something else (read a book I guess) simples 😂😅
Netflix is not financed by ads.
You might be right about the intentions of these brands. But, as history has shown, data can end up in the wrong hands. Sometimes there are massive data breaches, other times adversaries are sitting silently in systems for years. See for example:
The Inside Story of How British Spies Hacked Belgium’s Largest Telco
The British government infected Belgacom with among the most advanced malware ever seen.
That doesn’t amount to informed consent. The norm had been that a television set doesn’t track you. The correct way would be prevent tracking until the consumer agrees to it I.e a clear Accept or Reject.
People who pay for content should have zero tracking.
Then the TV manufacturers can raise their prices if they want me as a customer. Note that projector companies don't engage in this odious conduct.
Only understanding a small part of this bit I get the gist. Terrifying. Keep up your good work to keep us informed and safe Thankyou
Fantastic thread. Didn’t see any mention of AppleTV. Assume that is better than others but not perfect? Any info?
I'm curious about this as well.
We here for you!
While privacy is a pressing concern, perhaps all the tracking does is confirm we did what we were told. For example, the tracking is terrible at follow up behaviour. The problems were outlined 40 years ago in 4 arguments for an end to tv?
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
Jerry Mander: 8601417135341: Books
i worked in TV. the feedback loop between tracking and content is like the stock market's irrational exuberance. what you watch reinforces what's created to get you to watch. take out advertising stakeholders and you get a snake eating its tail. art dies.
This is a great piece of work! Alerting the unsuspected, the research brings to fore of the latest ways one can be tracked illegally. No solution, I observe. Simply, switch off!
Remarkable work. Following to know more.
Am I protected if I use a VPN with the Firestick?
I wonder if I could use @Hak5 #screencrab to capture the handshakes of this 🤔 ...anyone know?
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No fucking shit, wait until they reveal that they’re reading our minds 🤯
Check out Alphonso and Samba
This is why I disable internet on my TV.
Depending on how stringent you want to be about ad trackers, maybe avoid a smart TV? Thread also includes some opt-out links, and a method for monitoring devices.
When we watch TV, our TVs watch us back and track our habits. This practice has exploded recently since it hasn’t faced much public scrutiny. But in the last few days, not one but *three* papers have dropped that uncover the extent of tracking on TVs. Let me tell you about them.
How about chromecast
Okay, so down the worm hole we go basically? We are experiencing 1984 in reality, while simultaneously asking for better technology 😔
Was there any infonon appleTVs?
When I sense that I’m seeing an ad that is targeting me as a result of data mining, I simply let the business know that I won’t be buying their product or service.
Any research on whether any of these devices leak wifi passwords?
If you're (understandable) against this tracking and are a bit tech savvy. Read up on an install a raspberry-pi wit pi-hole. The whole issue gets reduced immensely. #RaspberryPi #pihole #exterminate!
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As a software developer I feel particularly helpless. Nowadays most of my job is to build the bare minimum so that we may track users in any way possible. I try to resist this, but apparently the whole world has gone crazy with these ads and trackers.
I would rather work on the other side of the fence to rid our world of advertisements and tracking, but such a job seems not to exist
Thanks very much for your sharing. IMPORTANT THREAD.
This needs controlling by LAW.
Do you remember Orwell's 1984? Although it took us twice the time than predicted (72 instead of 36 years), it seemed that his book was finally used as an instruction manual.
Thank you for this thread. Really informative, helped me gain a better understanding of the scary world we live in.
Honestly this has been a thing for so long in my life that at this point I'm desensitized and just dont care Which should probably be worrisome but I'm more preoccupied adding everything up in my head to make sure I dont go over budget
An excellent reasearches. Results are scaring.
Beginnings of a treasure trove on a complex subject, attempted with a simplified explanation! Good stuff
That’s why I use pihole. Peaks when my Samsung tv is running.
One day I’ll need to set one up at home too.
One day ist now ;)
I got mind blowed, maybe you are more aware. Please build @OsmosysWater with an eye on this 🙏🏾
So...if I just disable the tv from thw Wi-Fi do I still habe thia problem?
On NAB and ABC TV industry exhibition, i have seen startup owned by Samsung, that is providing metric data from hidden or obvious cam and mic from smrtTV.Where you eyes are when,r u man/woman,approx age... face was sold as “anon.datasets”;name forgotten
This is so scary and mind boggling.
thanks for this xx
I guess in capitalist America, tv watches you too
Impressive work, much needed and troubling for privacy issues.
If you watch TV on the net *of course* you're being watched. That's a given.
K, first line I like (TV watching us back: cool).. Then i read "scrutiny" "explode" "tracking"?? And there's more of this?? My eyes can't handle anymore! U ruined a nice line on a blink! And some of the comments are hidden?! TF is all this nonsense?
I Use PiHole to block all this nonsense!
This scares me. Mainly because I really don't know much about technology . It all goes over my head really.
It helps to never connect your TV to the Internet, either via Wi-Fi or ethernet cable.
I have replaced my TV with a projector back in 2015 and how glad I am!