Today, every device has to be “Smart.” So also does the TV. These modern tools are no longer just for watching TV, they connect via the Internet with YouTube, show helpful information about the current program and can be extended by apps to additional functions. Switching via voice control is also possible. This is well received by the clientele.
But the mass market for Internet-compatible TVs is not only interesting for manufacturers, but also for data collectors and hackers. Privacy advocates warn against the overly relaxed handling of smart TVs – security and data protection. But there is a way to make Smart TVs safe and prevent espionage in the living room.
Research has shown that smart TVs log produces a lot in the background. For example, when the viewer changes channels or which apps are installed and how often they are used. Because many devices have a unique device identifier, data collected by manufacturers can be condensed into precise personality profiles. Thus, for example, based on the TV times and programs viewed it draws conclusions on age, education and even the health of the audience. Streaming providers such as Netflix and Amazon are also analyzing the viewing habits of their users.
HbbTV also has its criticisms. With the service, TV stations promise great extras to show on the current program – this requires the TV only have an Internet connection. But the technology behind it not only gets information from the broadcasters to the audience, but it also works the other way round. For example, TV broadcasters can find out which television programs their viewers use for a long time.
This works just like on the computer, where surfers on the Web don’t notice that they leave traces on visited pages. The data transfer is sometimes even unencrypted. Attackers could easily intercept data and spy on users. But the TV stations go even further and rely on their own analysis products at HbbTV, which also enable cross-station tracking in the programs within the own station group.
This snooping takes place every day in millions of German living rooms. After all, all current Smart TVs are equipped with HbbTV. An analysis of the Bavarians also revealed further violations of applicable data protection regulations. For example, twelve of the thirteen devices tested, communicated with the manufacturer server immediately after power up. Eleven sent data about used apps like YouTube or Amazon video. And four devices transmitted encrypted information on files played by USB sticks.
The situation appears once again: Almost every device connected to the Internet eagerly collects user data, even with smart TVs, privacy is at risk. Simply cutting the Internet connection is not a solution to protect yourself as is results in losing too many practical functions.
The alternative to making smart TVs safe with the eBlocker. Instead of making every single device fit for more data protection, the small box does this task in no time at all for devices and ensures more security. It is simply docked to the router via cable and powered – ready. Henceforth, it reliably protects PC, Mac, Tablet, TV & Co from all snooping services as well as spying by device manufacturers.