Could Your TV Be Watching You? - NBC10 Boston

Could Your TV Be Watching You?

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    Outsmart Your Smart TV

    Automated content recognition, a feature on smart TVs, allows your device to identify what you're watching, or even what you're saying.

    (Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017)

    While you sit and watch your TV, did you know it could be watching you back?

    Smart TVs have features called "automated content recognition." ACR allows your TV to identify what you're listening to, what you're watching and even what you're saying.

    "The downside is that this is really valuable information, and so a lot of companies want to sell it to advertisers, marketers, people who want to use it for commercial purposes, and so a lot of consumers think there is a loss of privacy," said Jim Willcox, senior electronics editor at Consumer Reports.

    All smart TV companies are required to allow you to opt into these data-collecting features. The problem is people are blindly approving these privacy agreements when they first turn on their new TVs.

    "A lot of people don't read them because they tend to be very long," said Willcox. "You have the ability right there to opt out of it."

    The good news is it's not a done deal. In just about all smart TVs, you can go into the menu settings and manually turn off the ACR features — usually there are three. Every TV is different and there are several steps to follow, but if you're concerned about who is watching you, it's better to be safe than sorry.

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