Smart TV consumers unaware of consent they are giving for use of their data

Thursday, July 5th, 2018 
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Ace Metrix Study Shines Light on Misconception of Consent Among Research and Data Companies

  • Peter Daboll, Ace Metrix CEO, urges research industry to spearhead data privacy standards

LOS ANGELES — Ace Metrix, the leader in measuring the impact of video advertising, today released a study on consumer privacy based on a survey of over 36,000 US consumers specifically regarding Internet-connected TVs. The results highlight the discrepancies between the “consent” companies claim they receive and the “consent” consumers are unaware they give.

Peter Daboll, Chief Executive Officer of Ace Metrix, noted, “Research and data companies need to be doing more for consumers to protect their privacy and secure the data they provide, or else they risk extinction. Even in the wake of some of the most dangerous security breaches in history…most research and data collectors have done little to adjust their business practices to secure consumers’ privacy.” He added, “They are missing a change in consumer and legislative sentiment. With GDPR, and the newly passed Consumer Privacy Act in California, the industry hit an inflection point on privacy. Research and data companies need to wake up. They need to be leading privacy and consumer consent reform – not following it.”

Peter argues, “The first big area we need to improve on is really getting consumers’ CONSENT—not using tricks, trojans or falsehoods to swindle our way into free data from unsuspecting people. We need to clearly describe to consumers what data we’re using, how we’re using it, and periodically remind them that we’re doing so.”

In the study, only 13% of people being tracked actually knew they were being monitored AND recalled agreeing to the Terms of Service for their Smart TV. Another 49% of people were unsure if their TV viewing habits were being monitored – yet 62% of them had TVs connected to the Internet. While data companies are adamant that they receive viewers’ consent, 75% of the consumers in Ace Metrix’s study had no idea how they gave “consent” in the first place.

Some Smart TV manufacturers are particularly shady with respect to collecting detailed consumer data without their knowledge or consent. From the consumer side, most people would not think their default privacy setting allows almost limitless access to their behavior (through their IP Address) when they set up their new TV.

“Little do they know, that from then on, every action – program, ad, website, stream – is being collected, monitored and shared with other data vendors. Integrating data companies merge data based on IP address and cookies associated with it. This IP/cookie match gives marketers access to one’s gender, age, address, interests, and other offline data,” explains Peter.

The Ace Metrix survey revealed 61% of consumers with a specific brand of Smart TVs were unsure whether their TV device collected data about their viewing habits. Another 21% said they were not being monitored; 8% knew they were and remembered agreeing to the terms; 7% knew but didn’t remember agreeing to anything and only 3% knew and disabled it.

More: Study report

Links: Ace Metrix