When you hear someone say “I will never do something”, it must be that there are reasonable doubts outside the world that this person is likely to do it, although it is not a good thing. “We need to discuss privacy,” Joseph Stinziano, executive vice president of Samsung Consumer-Business, said at a press conference on the evening of 5th Las Vegas local time. In this post, we shall be analysing TV-Mounted camera and privacy concerns with regard to 5G technology
As I was saying, Samsung said it will launch a “Privacy Choice” application for its smart TVs to disclose and more easily control the data collected by its TVs. The company has since said that it will offer a “Privacy Choice” app for 2015 old TVs.
Samsung needs to emphasize the privacy issue of the TV, which shows that the problem of smart TV collecting user privacy has reached a point where close attention must be given to it. To make matters worse, neither LG nor Vizio, who participated in CES with it, mentioned privacy at all.
TV-Mounted camera and privacy Concern: Why are TV Cameras so Sensitive?
Up to now, “smart TV” uses Android kernel or their own kernels. These OSes can install different applications to expand the playable content library. These TVs and their applications can record information such as playing time and category preferences, and some clients support multi-terminal synchronization.
But that’s it: Because the hardware layer does not have any redundant sensors, and the TV has no social and payment applications, the information collected by the TV is limited. By extension, the damage, once it is leaked, is also limited.
However, in recent years, the TV or TV remote control has begun to add microphones and voice control functions. This has made TVs and smart speakers in the home on par. In theory, the sound elements in the home can be collected anytime.
Starting from this year’s CES, the most terrible evolution has become the consensus of global household appliance manufacturers: to add a camera to the TV and make it more like a large mobile phone.
The “smart screen” trend that started in China last year is essentially adding more sensors to the TV, and at the same time further promoting the synchronization of the small-screen information of the mobile phone with the large-screen TV.
Huawei Smart TV Screen with Mounted Camera
All manufacturers are now improving the effect of mobile phones casting screens on TVs. This was a big problem in the past so that only the official Apple TV box and Chromecast projector can guarantee 100% low-latency, high-definition, and low-impact projection screen experience.
At present, newer tv models within 1-2 years of production have basically solved the shortcomings of screen projection experience through hardware and software upgrades.
Apple Apple TV also naturally relaxed the hardware exclusive, authorized to Vizio, Sony, LG and other TV brands. This is a good improvement.
However, the “smart screens” are more radically upgraded to support the direct installation of applications originally designed for Android phones. Some TV sets are designed to be rotated 90 degrees to change the vertical screen display, such as the Sero TV exhibited at Samsung CES and the previously announced TCL·XESS smart screen, OnePlus TV, etc.
Especially Relevant: Ways to Detect if an LED/LCD/OLED/Qled Television is Original or Fake
Samsung Sero TV can Play Mobile Videos and Photos in Portrait Orientation
Advantages of Television-Mounted Cameras
- Apparently, when most of the commonly used mobile phone applications require a camera, it is logical to install a camera on the TV.
- Secondly, it can be used for video call. In addition to TV manufacturers’ own chat apps, third-party applications such as WeChat and Skype may also be supported.
- On the other hand, it will definitely help you to look after your home, by the way, replacing your home’s surveillance camera. What the camera can do, such as quietly filming every shadow of a person in a quiet room, theoretically TV can do it.
- For example, the Huawei Smart Screen can monitor the viewing distance and posture of children. When the viewing distance is within 1.5 meters of the sitting posture, the TV will remind the user to adjust the position and posture.
- Hisense Social TV provides the “AI visual advisor” function, which can provide users with personalized services such as measuring face values, providing clothing suggestions, calorie testing, and garbage classification guidance.
- Even more exaggerated is that some TVs will also capture your actions and give feedback based on this action.
- Furthermore, Huawei / Honor Smart Screen combines skeletal joint recognition technology with professional courses of Beijing Sport University, which can realize course guidance while displaying user images for exercise comparison while exercising;
Skyworth AI customized TV Version
Skyworth Q60 is in deep cooperation with Keep. With the help of the camera function on the TV side, it performs standard scoring and fitness guidance while capturing the user’s motion trajectory.
Some of the original camera-equipped game consoles allow you to play somatosensory games, such as XBOX Kinect and Wii U.
All previous monitoring of users sitting on the sofa is not as exciting as installing a camera on the TV this time.
TV-Mounted Camera and privacy: What are the Threats?
The potential threats of installing a camera on a smart TV are far more destructive than the benefits. The reasons are as follows:
1. There is a possibility that the TV camera is secretly opened or broken
When this happens, it is difficult for people to take the initiative to pay attention and prevent it.
At home is the most private place for you and me. In fact, many times you can think of some people like to “fly themselves” in the living room without outsiders. This situation, if unguarded by a TV set, could, of course, have some devastating consequences.
We may consider actively installing a camera for theft prevention and check the surveillance at any time when we leave the house. But to protect privacy, many people can power off the camera as soon as they come home, and it is only useful when there is no one at home.
The camera may be hacked and used for blackmailing purposes. Of course, the manufacturer is not liable if this happens.
For example, at the end of last year, Amazon’s smart door lock and camera manufacturer Ring were accused of failing to adopt two-step verification and other enhanced security measures. This led hackers to guess that an Amazon account shared by a family and the camera successfully hacked into the home and pretended to be “Santa.” Say hello to the little girl in the house.
Many new TVs released at the end of 2019 so far may not be able to achieve a complete power-off shutdown unless the plug is completely unplugged.
Once family members relax their vigilance, these cameras may actively or passively expose the privacy picture in the home, and the losses can be large.
2. Security applications of TV systems: Type and effectiveness are far less than similar Products on Mobile Phones
Smart TVs claim to be able to do more and do almost anything. But when it promises a lot of features, it often does not give equal weight to the security side.
You need to know that it is impossible to achieve everything, in terms of appearance, screen, sound quality, hardware, ecology, price, security, etc. One of these aspects needs to be sacrificed to enhance competitiveness. What is lost is safety.
Security is invisible and inaccessible. It is laborious and unpleasant to do, which makes it harder for users to detect, and there are few complaints when users are lost.
Therefore, people have very good reasons to suspect that the TV becomes the weakest link in the family’s smart devices until the manufacturers and products prove their own security with actual actions.
Although it is also based on the Android magic change, the security of mobile phones, tablets, and computers requires various third-party software and tools to assist in the implementation.
There are many security software applicable to mobile phones. Some are added by OEM manufacturers after modifying ROM, and some are from traditional PC antivirus software manufacturers. Together they guarantee the basic security of the mobile platform.
But on TV, the system version is fragmented and updates are slow. Even if some TVs can erect the screen to solve the problem that security applications cannot be displayed horizontally, most security mobile phone applications are still basically unusable or have no effect.
As for the various housekeepers specially made for TVs, most of them provide a symbolic function of clearing memory, and their security protection ability is basically zero.
Some PC and mobile security vendors have also released security versions of the TV version. For example, Tencent TV Butler can scan for Trojan horses, adware and other risks of installed applications with one click.
However, this scan of the integrity of the installation package is the only security feature it provides. It can be said that all TV housekeeper products on the market are not ready for the prospect of the upcoming mobile phone app being installed on the TV.
3. Even if you don’t really care about leaks, the dangers of video or picture leaks far outweigh the audio.
The emergence of smart speakers and the addition of voice functions to TVs have indeed raised some concerns about 24-hour monitoring.
Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant have all been exposed to record the user’s unsuspecting recordings, or even private voices, and submitted them to analysts to improve the quality of speech recognition.
The problem is that consumers still seem to think that the benefits of continuing to use voice assistants outweigh the risks that privacy breaches can pose after weighing them. So before the manufacturer gives remedial measures, the matter is gone.
The reason why people feel that the privacy risk caused by sound leakage is relatively low, there is a possibility that it is easier for people to accept and remember the information conveyed visually.
It is much easier to identify someone in the vast sea than to hear the sound. Maybe there are some famous actors or hosts who have a special voice and are recognized like registered trademarks. If other people leak their voices, it ’s really not a big deal.
But for more people, the leakage of photos or videos is likely to cause great harm to the parties.
That’s why we emphasize that adding a camera to a TV is likely to be an iconic change. People don’t see anything now, but there is a possibility in the future that will evolve events with great lethality.
Although it is not yet possible to predict exactly what specific form will be presented, after all, you can’t really wait until then to see it, that’s too late.
Will It be difficult to buy a TV without a Camera?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, if a manufacturer needs to promise you “We will try our best to protect your privacy”, it means that this risk exists, and the manufacturer is far from being fully trustworthy.
After understanding this article, everyone actually has no choice. Only based on previous experience, consumers will still actively embrace or passively accept the camera will become the standard reality of future TV sets.
At the earliest when the Android modified system was applied to TVs, the concept of “smart TV” appeared, and many people hoped that there would be pure signal input without a smart TV.
Sadly, TV makers didn’t follow any suggestions. Nowadays, the hardware configuration on the market that you still prefer, no one does not have an intelligent system. Not to mention, the annoying boot-up advertisements also existed until the manufacturers were named. So, you should buy it.
Which manufacturer, at least in theory, this year provided a logical solution to privacy concerns? Only Apple. They are not launching new products during CES this year for the second consecutive year, they just emphasize privacy issues. Unfortunately, Apple does not produce TVs.
You know, if a hardware or software function may leak privacy, the best way to prevent privacy risks is not to install the hardware at all and not to provide this function, instead of first stacking it up and promising to improve it later, or If nothing happens, there is no improvement at all.
What you Should do When Your TV comes with a Camera
So the best advice I can offer readers and friends here is to cover the position of the camera on the TV with black tape. And, never turn on all video-related features on your TV.