Active and Passive Privacy Issues in Current Smart TVs
Godakanda Arachchige, Pubudu
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The convergence of electronics and Internet connectivity has transformed the consumer application market, and added the word “smart” ahead of every device and gadget. The present smart world produces thousands of products that enhance people’s daily lives. The smart televisions (STVs) are one of the leading products that modern homes have, and individuals have smart phones. In recent years STVs have gained a considerable amount of computing power with the help of low-cost electronic manufacturing. The voice recognition remote controllers, motion recognition cameras, scheduled programme records, and other smart features have added great experiences to the STVs and value, that has attracted more consumers. When a device is connected to the Internet everyone has to pay attention to security and privacy as a first priority. The fact is that the moment a device is connected to the Internet, it starts exchanging data with servers. However, most people are not concerned with security and privacy of STVs, and simply want the enhanced experiences and conveniences. This inconsiderate behaviour of STV users could open the door for perpetrators to get into their home networks and invade user privacy by connecting not only to STVs but also to other devices such as smart phones, home security systems and automobiles. In the first instance it is the responsibility of STV manufacturers to pay attention to the security of their products and develop enhancements and security improvements continuously. They have to protect from cyber attacking methods, tools that can compromise a STV, and continuously improve the user protection as well as their experiences. The purpose of this research is to analyse modern STV security vulnerabilities and possible privacy issues that can occur. These can happen due to one of data communication exposure, open operating system implementation methods, or the collecting of data on watching the habits of users. This can be carried out by the manufacturers by using the STV as a sensor network and data feeds to subscribing agents. Hence, the chosen research question is: “What are the active and passive privacy issues of current smart TVs?”. In comparison with previous generations of technology, modern smart TVs have some security enhancements for data communications and internal system protection. These improvements show the influence of government regulations and policies to protect their citizens. Awareness of the need to protect personal identity information (PII) and security researchers’ findings on STV security breaches, are driving security improvements. In this research several government policies are reviewed in relation to PII data. The New Zealand new privacy Bill is compared with the European GDPR and the Australian Privacy Act. The findings of this research show that both the tested STV brands have enhanced their system security to protect data. However, their data collection behaviour and use in advertising campaigns can lead to social engineering of an STV user, and the possibility of privacy issues. Further potential issues that can happen in the future are noted that relate to STV security implementations and weak cypher exchanges. Further research is required into the data collection processes in STVs and the potential use to influence users to purchase goods and services.