New television technology is mind-blowing in the effects it can reproduce. As an example, here's Sony Europe's new advertisement for its 4K Ultra HD TV. It shows the moisture wall of bubbles actually freezing in mid-air.
That's amazing technology . . . but other advances in technology allow for a truly scary invasion of your privacy. I don't know whether Sony's TV's do it, but those from other manufacturers certainly do, as Salon reports.
The amount of data this thing collects is staggering. It logs where, when, how and for how long you use the TV. It sets tracking cookies and beacons designed to detect “when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message.” It records “the apps you use, the websites you visit, and how you interact with content.” It ignores “do-not-track” requests as a considered matter of policy.
It also has a built-in camera — with facial recognition. The purpose is to provide “gesture control” for the TV and enable you to log in to a personalized account using your face. On the upside, the images are saved on the TV instead of uploaded to a corporate server. On the downside, the Internet connection makes the whole TV vulnerable to hackers who have demonstrated the ability to take complete control of the machine.
More troubling is the microphone. The TV boasts a “voice recognition” feature that allows viewers to control the screen with voice commands. But the service comes with a rather ominous warning: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.” Got that? Don’t say personal or sensitive stuff in front of the TV.
You may not be watching, but the telescreen is listening.
There's more at the link.
I'm not a TV watcher at the best of times, thanks to the abysmal quality of most programming. Technology that invades my privacy will simply ensure that I never buy a higher-tech TV, or at least only one that allows me to (verifiably) switch off every bit of such monitoring. If it doesn't, it's permanently off my shopping list - no matter how appealing its visual technology.