A few weeks ago, I investigated automatic content recognition (ACR) systems found on televisions from Samsung, LG, and Vizio. This technology, which has been deeply integrated into many smart TVs since 2012, is designed to identify what viewers are watching, then send that information in real time to the TV manufacturers' third-party vendors. Those vendors are generally companies that most consumers have never heard of, such as Enswers and Cognitive Networks, which hope to use customer viewing habits for marketing or analytics purposes.
The feedback I've gotten from most readers is: "I don't want my TV tracking me. How can I turn this stuff off?" If you pay close attention when you first set up your television, all three manufacturers give you a chance to opt out of these technologies while reviewing their privacy policies. But if you're like most people, you didn't scrutinize the lengthy legalese when you were trying to get your new TV up and running. And that's okay, because all of these smart TVs have menu settings you can use to shut the content-sniffing features down later. Here's where to look.
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