Stop your Smart TV from spying on you

Posted at 5:36 PM, Mar 20, 2017

With the recent Wikileaks revelation that the government could spy on Americans through our Smart TV's, suddenly that internet connectivity that was so exciting two years ago is looking a bit creepy to a lot of people.

But the good news is that there are some things you can do if you're concerned, and still watch Netflix.

"Kind of scary"

Ann Shepherd loves watching her big screen TV, but now says "it's kind of scary."

She doesn't like the idea of the government, or even the TV manufacturer, knowing what she's watching. "I take my privacy very serious, and I really don't appreciate  someone spying on me," she said.

She's so concerned that when she wants Netflix or other streaming content, she uses her Blu-Ray player that can be turned off.

"No, my TV isn't even connected to the internet at all. All my internet functions go through my old Blu-Ray player," she said.

All this is legal, as it turns out you allow data collection on some Smart TV's when you agreed to the TV's privacy policy during setup.

What you can do

Now if you're concerned with what your TV might be recording or sharing, the best thing to do is get into the TV's settings.

Consumer Reports Magazine hasjust posted a story onlineshowing how to disable sharing features on most major brands.
On an LG set, you need to go to "Options", then "LIvePlus", and click "off." On some newer LG's, it's under "User Agreements."
Have a Vizio? Look through settings until you see "Smart Interactivity."  
And with Samsung, go into the Smart Hub menu, where you can turn off a feature named "SyncPlus and Marketing."
Some newer Samsung's have added "Voice Recognition," which utilizes a built in microphone.  You can shut that off if you find it.

No need to be overly concerned

Your TV should still stream Netflix, without listening or sharing data, which makes Shepherd feel a little better..

"Home is your safe place," she said. "And it's a place for privacy. And that's what I am mostly concerned about."

Bottom line: The risk of anyone deliberately spying on average people though their TV's is next to zero. And remember that Netflix has a list of what you watch, which is how it recommends other movies to you.
But if it makes you sleep better, turn off sharing and interactivity, so you don't waste your money.