Smart TV snooping – Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) – Turn it off

Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) – Turn it off

The power of Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) snooping technology

Smart TV snooping uses Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology  The TV sends information over the Internet to the snoopers who want to make money from your private viewing habits. Either using the information themselves to tempt you to buy goods that they know you like via adverts or sell it to third parties for the purpose of building information profiles about your habits, location, preferences, etc. The aim being to customise adverts and place them across your path on the web or while you are watching TV.

Smart TV snooping -ACR enabled by default without permission or requiring consent without an explanation of what it is

A smart TV requires an Internet connection in order to deliver its smart capabilities. It is not possible to have a two-way system that receives and transmits on Over the Air TV (OTA TV). Also known as terrestrial TV.

For most users the Internet connection is over a landline telephone. Consequently, if Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology is in operation, information about everything you do on the TV and your home phone is sent to the snoopers. That includes what you watch on OTA TV,  the video games you play using a console, your choices of streaming with an Apple TV, what you  do via an HDMI connection to a PC. Not even the old videos you might watch  on an old VHS video player would be beyond the snooping.

There are companies that specialise in analysing data from smart TV snooping

The reason that smart TVs are cheaper than non-smart TVs is the added value that the viewers’ data adds to all of the participants that provide the smart experience to the viewers.

Companies that specialise in analysing the data can then combine it with other data from other sources at their disposal in order to make it as useful as possible to the advertising companies. That other information, believe it or not, can include your web- browsing history, web-search history and credit-card transaction data, etc. All of the companies chip in identifiable information about you in order to make it as usable and as valuable as possible to the entire group of vultures.

Smart TV snooping – Confusing and/or burying the ACR controls

Unfortunately, since the smart TV manufacturers tend to use different names for ACR in their settings, as well as making the controls difficult to find, it is not possible to give a standard way of disabling the smart TV snooping.

The following article provides an idea of how different the controls vary.

How to Turn Off Smart TV Snooping Features –

“In one study, researchers at Northeastern University and Imperial College London looked at smart TVs and other internet-connected devices and found that many of them sent data to Amazon, Facebook, and DoubleClick, Google’s advertising business. Almost all the TVs sent data to Netflix even if the app wasn’t installed or the owner hadn’t activated it.”

How to disconnect your smart TV from the Internet

As stated earlier in this article, a smart TV has to use an Internet connection to maintain a two-way connection in order to collect data and phone it home.  Therefore, to turn your smart TV into a non-smart TV, just disconnect its Internet connection. If the TV is connected to your router’s network via an Ethernet cable, unplug it. If the connection uses a Wi-Fi router, make your TV forget the Wi-Fi network. When you get a new smart TV – most TVs are now smart – you have to set its internet connection up, so just don’t take that step if you don’t want a smart TV.

If you decide to keep a TV’s smart features, make sure that you read its guide that provides information on how to disable as many of its features that invade your privacy as possible Always bear it in mind that .any apps that you run on  a smart TV, such as Netflix, will be sending the information about what you are using them for back to their providers.

About Eric 275 Articles
I am an experienced PC technician who has been the owner and sole writer of the PC Buyer Beware! website since 2004. I am learning all the time in this very dynamic, ever-changing field.