Smart TVs and home devices are harvesting consumers’ personal data and funnelling it to big technology companies, researchers have warned.
Sensitive information such as one’s exact location is reportedly being wired to corporations such as Facebook, Amazon and – even if the person is not their customer.
Any internet-connected device, including speakers, cameras and even fridges, risk storing a consumer’s data before transmitting it.
The findings from a team at the Northeastern University in Boston and Imperial College came as fears of creeping privacy intrusion is grabbing headlines across the globe.
Smart TVs and home devices are harvesting consumers’ personal data and funnelling it to big technology companies, researchers have warned
Sensitive information such as one’s exact location is reportedly being wired to corporations such as Facebook, Amazon and Netflix – even if the person is not their customer
David Choffnes, computer scientist at Northeastern University, said: ‘Amazon is contacted by almost half the devices in our tests, which stands out because [this means] Amazon can infer a lot of information about what you’re doing with different devices in your home, including those they don’t manufacture.’
A total 81 devices – including products by LG and Samsung – were monitored in the US and the UK to determine how much personal data was logged and where it was exported to, according to .
Companies can then use this data to plot a TV watcher’s preferences, who they are interacting with and even estimate when they are out of the house, raising security concerns.
The ability of Silicon Valley tech giants to pinpoint a user’s geography is an increasing worry among consumers.
The ability of Silicon Valley tech giants to pinpoint a user’s geography is an increasing worry among consumers (Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg pictured)
Iphone owners took to social media this week to complain that Facebook was urging them to allow the app to remotely tap into their Bluetooth – which can be used to track their movements.
Netflix said: ‘Information Netflix receives from smart TVs that are not signed in is confined to how Netflix performs and appears on screen.
‘We do not receive any information about other applications or activity on smart TVs.’
Facebook said: ‘It’s common for devices and apps to send data to the third-party services that are integrated into them.
‘This could, for example, include an app sending data to Facebook to create a login interface, or provide a Like button.’
An Amazon spokesperson said: ‘When customers opt-out of interest based ads, we require app developers to not use the advertising ID to build user profiles for advertising purposes or show interest based Google Ads Account Login.
‘We also require all third party apps that collect personal information from Fire TV users to provide a privacy notice that discloses what information they collect from the customer and how they use it.’
LG and Samsung did not immediately respond to MailOnline’s request for comment.