"... the pervasive ad tracking that all smart TVs do..."

Television services and online video discussion.
14 posts Page 1 of 2
by ankh » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:47 pm
Can Sonic do anything about tracking by smart TVs?
(I don't own a TV, but some day I might)
Asking after reading this:
==================================
[1]Taking the smarts out of smart TVs would make them more expensive

CES is always a show about the future of TVs, and this year is particularly interesting. Not only are 4K HDR TVs better and cheaper than ever, but the software side of things is opening up in unprecedented ways. Not only are Google Assistant and Alexa control everywhere, but Apple’s embracing the TV industry for the first time: Vizio and [2]LG TVs will [3]support AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, while [4]Samsung TVs will get an iTunes Movies & TV app, as well as AirPlay 2 support.

I just hung out with Vizio CTO Bill Baxter on the Vergecast, and the conversation was wide-ranging and illuminating. Vizio just announced its 2019 lineup of 4K HDR TVs, and they’re as impressive as ever: there’s brighter, bolder colors from quantum-dot technology for the M- and P-series TVs, and the new flagship P-Series Quantum X line has 480 local dimming zones and a wild peak brightness of 2,900 nits. In terms of pure hardware, these are some of the best 4K HDR TVs I’ve seen yet.

[...] And we definitely talked about t [1]Taking the smarts out of smart TVs would make them more expensive

CES is always a show about the future of TVs, and this year is particularly interesting. Not only are 4K HDR TVs better and cheaper than ever, but the software side of things is opening up in unprecedented ways. Not only are Google Assistant and Alexa control everywhere, but Apple’s embracing the TV industry for the first time: Vizio and [2]LG TVs will [3]support AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, while [4]Samsung TVs will get an iTunes Movies & TV app, as well as AirPlay 2 support.

I just hung out with Vizio CTO Bill Baxter on the Vergecast, and the conversation was wide-ranging and illuminating. Vizio just announced its 2019 lineup of 4K HDR TVs, and they’re as impressive as ever: there’s brighter, bolder colors from quantum-dot technology for the M- and P-series TVs, and the new flagship P-Series Quantum X line has 480 local dimming zones and a wild peak brightness of 2,900 nits. In terms of pure hardware, these are some of the best 4K HDR TVs I’ve seen yet.

[...] And we definitely talked about the pervasive ad tracking that all smart TVs do — especially after I noticed the new Vizio P-Series in my parents’ house [5]seems to ping the network an awful lot. Baxter told me that he thinks Vizio is the industry leader in disclosing what tracking is happening and letting users opt in or out during setup, and that he’s fine if people choose to turn it off. But he was also clear that TV companies are in a cutthroat business, and that companies like Vizio would have to charge higher prices for hardware if they didn’t run content, advertising, and data businesses.

[...] I guess I have a philosophical question. You guys are committed to low price points and you often beat the industry at those price points. Can you hit those price points without the additional data collection that TV does if you don’t have an ad business or a data business on top of the TV?

So that’s a great question. Actually, we should have a beer and have a long, long chat about that.

Discuss this story at: https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?sid ... 22/1632218

Links:
0. https://soylentnews.org/~upstart/
1. https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/7/18172 ... t-ces-2019
2. https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/7/18172 ... s-2019-tvs
3. https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/7/18171 ... s-ces-2019
4. https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/6/18170 ... -airplay-2
5. https://twitter.com/reckless/status/1081787683515490305
by virtualmike » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:29 pm
Don't connect the TV to the network (neither enter the WiFi details into the TV nor connect to Ethernet). Then, it can't relay any info. Problem solved.
by ankh » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:55 am
Will that 'disconnect' approach work with a TV program bundle bought through Sonic? I thought they were using the Sonic fiber to deliver the information and so would need to be connected.
by virtualmike » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:00 pm
It depends.

You could get a smart TV and load the Sling app onto it. In that case, then the smart TV would be connected to the network.

Or you could get any TV, smart TV or dumb, and get a Roku box (or similar) and use the Sling TV app. Then the TV can't do the tracking.

In either case, the folks at Sling will know your TV habits.

Personally, I use a smart TV that's network connected, running the apps for the various streaming services I want to watch. I understand the potential for tracking, but I use a different email address for the account associated with the device. Since there are several people in the household that watch the TV, any data gathered is diluted because it can't be associated with any one person.
by ankh » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:59 am
I use a different email address for the account associated with the device


Ah, so it doesn't need the Sonic userid to get television over fiber?

Sorry to keep asking "explain like I"m 75" questions, I missed the whole era from 1960s 3-network broadcast TV to the present. Lotsa catching up to do.
by virtualmike » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:11 pm
To effectively use a smart TV, it will require you to create an account with the TV's manufacturer, which includes providing an email address.

You can use any email address. I provided an email address I don't use for any other purpose.

The TV manufacturer can track viewing habits by my IP address, but it can't associate what I see with me.
by sysops » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:59 am
virtualmike wrote:
The TV manufacturer can track viewing habits by my IP address, but it can't associate what I see with me.


I'm not sure I'd say that's entirely true anymore. There are dozens of companies receiving hundreds of millions in investments who specialize in cross-device tracking that resolve devices to real identities, and have a big focus and interest on attribution.

As soon as you use the smart TV to sign in to your YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix accounts, you've handed over your identity.

If a phone or laptop share the same IP, you're tracked by all of these data brokers who have their trackers installed on a majority of the top 10,000 websites in the US. In the past, 3rd party advertising SDK's have been caught activating microphones to pick up on inaudible frequencies (careful, Wired/CondeNast make heavy use of trackers) coming from TV broadcasts and commercials to track viewership and attribute TV ads to mobile conversions. Oath (by Verizon/AOL) https://www.oath.com/advertising/video have bought up numerous companies specializing in TV advertising and delivering highly targeted TV ads to viewers.

My rule on smart TV's is don't buy one, or disagree to all agreements and don't connect it to the net. But I'm more allergic to this stuff than most.
Proud Sonic customer since 1999. Ask me about internet privacy, VPN, anonymity and security.
by ankh » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:33 am
Bingo, that's my concern, having heard from someone in the industry about how "re-identifiers" work on collections of ostensibly anonymized information.

Here are some of the things they use to reassemble a personal profile:

https://www.instacode.com/article/priva ... dentifiers
by ankh » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:35 am
Bingo, that's my concern, having heard from someone in the industry about how "re-identifiers" work on collections of ostensibly anonymized information. It's a big industry already.
by ankh » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:44 am
Will Sonic' VPN work to defeat tracking by appliances like TVs?
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