Your Smart TVs Could Be Doing More Than Meets The Eye

The New York Times reported Samba Interactive software collects data on around 13.5 million TVs in the US to promote personalized advertising. You may have heard of Samba because the brand runs its software on over a dozen TV models from brands like Sony, Sharp, Magnavox, Toshiba, and Philips. What you may not know is how this software could be used to invade your privacy, keep reading to learn how. 

Samba TVs can track everything playing on your screen, even video games, and use these images to provide personalized show suggestions. Seems harmless, right? Wrong. The New York Times piece shows this agreement is eerily like the Facebook scandals because so many people opted-in to sharing their data unintentionally because few people take the time to read the lengthily privacy policy and terms disclaimer. Once you enable “track viewing habits” it’s difficult to disable it, with pathways varying across TV models.

My TV has access to microphones and geolocation?

It sure does. Samba follows Federal Trade Regulation laws because they don’t sell user data. However, they allow companies to access devices linked to the same network as their TV software. This means your tablet, smartphone, and computer are flooded with personalized ads.

If these devices are accessed this means your geolocation can be tracked while you take these devices with you. To give you a sense of what these firms can access, take Samba’s rival firm, Alphonso, who was sued last year for listening in via smartphone microphones to gain information about reactions to TV ads.

Combat this by:

  1. Making sure your other devices are linked to different networks than your smart devices.
  2. Opting out of Samba data collection in the section called “Your Rights and Choices”. Read more about how to disable this without resetting your TV here.
  3. Using a VPN that encrypts your internet activity so everything you do online is private. We recommend Nord VPN. For only $6.99 a month you can enjoy a safe and secure internet connection.
  4. Subscribing to our newsletter so you’re always informed of the latest news and threats in the world of cyber security.
  5. Running regular FixMeStick scans to ensure your machines are clean.