Research: Smart TVs transfer owners data to Facebook and Netflix

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Companies see data transfer as normal practice.

Smart TVs and media players send information about the owners to third-party companies and services — even those in which users are not registered. It is reported by The Financial Times with reference to the results of a study by Northeastern United States University and Imperial College London.

The study writes that a number of smart TV models, including Samsung and LG, as well as Roku and Amazon FireTV devices, send Netflix and third-party advertisers location information and the user’s IP address. At the same time, the data went to Netflix regardless of whether the user was registered in the service.

At Princeton University, where they conducted an independent analysis of smart TVs, they found that part of the applications for Roku and FireTV devices send personal data about users to third-party companies, including Google.

By analyzing the outgoing traffic, the researchers found out that third-party companies receive at least information about the device used by its owner, its location and operating time. So you can find out when a person is usually at home, experts say. Smart devices send most of the data in encrypted form, so it was not possible to find out all types of data that third parties receive.

Google, Netflix, and Facebook confirmed the information about sending data from smart devices but called for not exaggerating the danger of this practice. Netflix claims to use this information to check how the application looks on the screen. Facebook called sending data the usual practice: this is necessary in order to properly arrange, for example, forms for registering through social networks in applications. Google said that they collect information about the location of the viewer, the type of device and what the user is watching. This is necessary to show suitable ads.

In studies at Northeastern United States University and Imperial College London, experts conducted laboratory tests of 81 devices in the US and the UK, another 36 owners of “smart” technology provided personal devices for statistics. In the course of the work, the researchers conducted more than 34.5 thousand tests.

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