Most people today realise that they are being tracked along their journey across the internet, from one site to another. One place where few people think they will have to worry about privacy is when they are watching TV.
Earlier on this year, Vizio, an electronics company, was fined $2.2m for secretly collecting consumers’ data through over 11 million smart TVs and then selling that data to third parties without explicit consent. As well as that, the company also collected and shared households' IP addresses, nearby access points and post codes.
Smart TVs and mobile phones are the perfect tool when it comes to listening in or ‘watching’ people. Over 94% of homes in the UK have at least one digital TV, usually in the centre/main part of the house. While often fitted with microphones and cameras, they create a nearly fool-proof way to spy on people.
Saying this, most companies will be collecting data on you, although this data is usually stored anonymously.
The data tracking software reportedly worked by collecting a selection of on-screen pixels every second your TV was on, and then compared that data to a database of known movies, television shows, and commercial commercials, and another type of video content. This practice is known as automatic content recognition (ACR).