Control your privacy series: 3 quick tweaks to reduce the amount of data your smart TV collects

Cristina POPOV

October 09, 2023

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Control your privacy series: 3 quick tweaks to reduce the amount of data your smart TV collects

Smart TVs have neat features, but they also come with privacy drawbacks. Like any connected device, they collect and send your data to platforms and third parties. You can limit this amount by controlling privacy settings and agreements you make to your device.

Overview: Your smart TV starts collecting data about you during the setup phase, when you create your account: email address, home address, date of birth, credit card number, and the streaming services you subscribe to.

Unless you intend to use it in "dumb" mode – for watching traditional broadcast TV or as a display for gaming consoles or media players - once you connect it to the internet, it feeds data into platform ecosystems. It keeps track of the apps you download, which services you use (and when), and how you navigate the TV interface. This data is shared with various third-party services, including data brokers and ad-tech platforms.

If you have consented to Automated Content Recognition (ACR), the TV will also be able to see what you watch within each app and send this information back to the manufacturer and/or platform operator. When you enable the voice assistant feature, it might record your conversations/ instructions.

Action: How can you protect your data while using a smart TV?

There are a few things you can do to limit the data it collects:

Step 1: Provide only the mandatory information to use the device. You can easily identify which is by unticking the pre-ticked buttons, skipping, and seeing if you can get to the next

window without "agreeing to all."

Step 2: Only consent to the terms and conditions for features you are likely to use. For example, turn on the TV's voice assistant feature only if you need it.

Step 3: Go to privacy settings and find out what you can opt out of or turn off to limit sharing with third parties.

Smart TVs are super cool with all their features but can also be nosy. Take time to dive into the specifics of your smart TV model and prevent it from knowing more about you than you'd like. Would you like to know when a streaming service breach exposes your data? Then get Bitdefender Digital Identity, the only monitoring service that helps you navigate online incidents and threats by giving personalized, easy-to-follow advice to minimize damage.



Cristina POPOV

Cristina is a freelance writer and a mother of two living in Denmark. Her 15 years experience in communication includes developing content for tv, online, mobile apps, and a chatbot.

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