Smart TVs Found to Be Spying on Their Owners in China

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Level 14
Jan 21, 2018
"In the past week, Chinese smart TV users were surprised to find out that their TVs are gathering and sending out all sorts of information through Gozen Data, a leading Chinese TV analytics company located in Beijing.

This event was first revealed on a forum for tech enthusiasts called V2EX. A post made by a user stated that his Skyworth Smart TV had become slow and started to look into the source code of applications to find out why this was happening. He discovered a piece of software that checks the user's Wi-Fi home network every ten minutes and uploads its findings to Gozen Data's database. Those data strings included information like what smart devices were used in that specific home, whether the owner's phone was there, and who used the Wireless Network...."

A quick search shows that the brand of TV in this story - Skyworth - is available outside of China. I don't know if the same TVs are sold under different brand names, nor do I know if the 'Gozen Data' services are enabled in TVs sold outside of China, I'm guessing that it is likely to happen. The original story on Softpedia has a slightly bemusing headline as I'm sure that any clued-up owner of a TV would not necessarily be surprised to find that they'd bought a spying device.

When I was a kid our parents used to suggest to my sister and myself that the people in the TV were watching us and would report any misbehaviour. It was enough to keep us wondering if this was true, for a while. Maybe our parents were right all along!
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