With access to the Internet, TV automatically acquires several not-so-pleasant side effects of conventional computer and online activity. Thus the new ‘smart’ TVs record the preferences of their owners and the data is sent to the marketing industry, which ensures that each device is sending personalized advertising messages. That is, the advertisements match the commercial and consumer profile of the owner of the television, which is made by companies based on television preferences and not only…
Big Brother TV
A few days ago Jason Hadley, a British consultant on information technology and computers, became one of the first named victims of this development. Hadley was surprised when at a certain moment he realized he was constantly seeing the same ads while watching TV shows relevant to the advertised products. As a computer expert, he connected TV with a laptop computer and recorded the data his television was sending to the Internet-based server.
Hadley was surprised to find that his TV not only was tracking the shows he watched but literally was recording every button he pushed on the remote control and then send all data to the headquarters of the manufacturing company. Moreover, the television was sending to the company the contents of the hard disk which contained various kinds of files, such as TV movies and family videos and photos. All these resulted in the records of the manufacturing company. Indeed all data continued to be sent to the company even when Hadley disabled the relative ability of the device!
Apart from recording data, experts point out that, as is the case with computers and any other device connected to the Internet, the TVs that have this option pose the same risks, such as, for example, to be infected by a virus.
Not long ago the company ReVuln, based in Malta, announced that its technicians acting as hackers managed to gain control of a television that has a hard drive, microphone and camera. According to company officials, if someone gains access to this particular model, he could spy – unknowingly of course – on the owners of the device, that is see and hear what is happening in the room where the TV is located, and also can obtain the data recorded on the hard disk. Obviously most smart TVs of the recent years are vulnerable and soon or later will be used for malicious purposes.
Published in HeliosPlus on November 29, 2013