I Always Feel Like My TV is Watching Me….and I Got No Privacy

So as the end of the year approaches and I realize how much I have to do and that I’ve procrastinated and wonder if my life worth is really that important and how I’ll be in the library all night, I decided to write tonight on what my 12 page paper that’s due in 48 hours is about.

WHICH IS *pause for dramatic effect*



So if you are unaware on how your favorite TV show comes on at the perfect time in your day or how strange it is that while you were eating your Lucky Charms at 10am, the commercial for Lucky Charms came on (when you were 7)…it’s because of consumer data monitoring brought to you by the almighty god of consumer trend monitoring: Nielsen.

Nielsen puts local people meters in family households, set meters, and/or has volunteers keep diaries of their television viewing habits. This information is then sent to the company where they can show networks what shows are popular, within what age group, and at what time advertisers/show creators should air their material.

Now the fact that a company is monitoring this may seem a little invasive…or at least it did to me. However, these Nielsen subjects know they are being monitored, they actively participate, and they agree/are protected by Nielsen’s privacy policy.

This action has been taking place for 65 years ever since the company shifted from radio to television in 1950, and is just the essential and accepted practice of the TV industry.

However, now as technology is changing, the Smart TV has been making its way downtown….walking fast…..faces pass…..(shout-out to my girl Vanessa Carlton)…..

….is consumers personal data being obtained the same way as Nielsen?

Do they know they are being monitored by Smart TV companies? To what extent is this happening and is this OK?

Well there have been a few infractions on some of the electronic companies we know and love…aka LG and Samsung.

In November of 2013, an anonymous blogger claimed that his family’s television viewing trends and personal information was being extracted by his Smart TV without him knowing. He provided evidence by taking screenshots of the transmission of files that he had uploaded to LG from his personal computer (which was connected to his Smart TV). Also the vocal recognition component of the device would record even when the device said it was off. Therefore his family’s personal conversations were being monitored and sent to a third party without them knowing.

SO long story short, LG revised their privacy policy to say the ever so polite message: “If you don’t like our data collection methods….then don’t buy our product.” Now there’s more details to this story, but for you all, that’s the basic gist.

Then in 2015, Samsung had the same problem with the vocal recognition component. The fact that consumers’ in-home conversations were being transmitted to a third party through a little microphone on their TV remote was concerning. However Samsung rectified their privacy policy, and all was fine in the world.



What we should think about and take from this is the fact that televisions have UPed their game on how they can obtain personal data. LG and Samsung can make bank off of all encompassing data they receive on John Smith who makes $1 million a year, as they learned from the banking information they extracted from the TVs Internet component, drives a Porshe, they saw through the pictures he uploaded on the the photo album application, and just basically what he watches on Netflix….

What do you all think about this issue? Is this ethical? Does this make you think twice about buying a Smart TV?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s