Two separate studies have confirmed that the new generation of smart TVs for different brands transmit sensitive data to users such as Netflix, Google and Facebook, even if the user is not subscribed to any service and if the device is turned off.
Researchers from Northeastern University and Imperial College in London have revealed that Internet-connected TVs, including Samsung and LG TVs and devices such as Amazon Fire TV, send information about the device and its location.
In the case of Netflix, for example, data is sent even when the application is not active, even if the user is not registered with the service. "So she may know when she's at home and when she's not," explains David Chauvins, one of the study's authors, to the Financial Times.
Other Internet-connected devices, including smart speakers and cameras, send information to "dozens" of companies, including Spotify and Microsoft, the researchers found.
In the second study on smart TV from Princeton University, the researchers noted that some applications supported by Roku and Fire TV had sent data to third parties, including Google.
The study by Northeastern University, in particular, is the largest ever on smart TV, involving 81 different devices in both the UK and the United States, and found "important information exposures".
Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Akamai were the companies to which data is often sent, partly because they provide cloud services and networks on which smart devices operate. The impact of Amazon, in particular, was "almost half of the devices analyzed."
This means, according to Chauvins, that she can “deduce a lot of information about what users are doing with different devices in the same house, including devices that were not produced by Amazon”, which could represent an eye on users as well as on competitors. Italian news.
Most of the data sent was encrypted so researchers could not know if other information was sent along with the IP address and location. But computer scientist at the Royal College, Hamid Haddadi, said some of the television broadcast could be captured.
According to Agi, Netflix explained that "information from smart TVs when the app is not active is limited to the way Netflix appears on the screen", ie it also receives information from non-members.
Facebook also confirmed this, explaining according to AGI that "for devices and applications, it is common to send data to integrated third-party services."
"Like other publishers, smart TV app developers can use our services to show ads and measure their performance," Google said, similar to what happens with the company in the app and on the web, but Google says this is always based on "user preferences on the device." "Depending on the device manufacturer or app owner, the data sent may include the user's location, device type, and what the user is searching for in a particular app, so that it can be targeted with customized ads.