Schumer warns consumers their TVs could be spying on them

Schumer called on major television manufacturers to create a uniform standard of security to be used in all new Internet and video enabled televisions that would prevent hackers from spying on consumers.

Some new televisions have built in Web cameras for video chatting, but Schumer said many of them don’t have the same firewall protections as computers.

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“Many of these smart televisions are vulnerable to hackers who can spy on you while you’re watching TV in your living room,” Schumer said. “Our computers have access to firewalls and other security blocks but these televisions do not and that’s why manufacturers should do everything possible to create a standard of security in their Internet-connected products.”

Schumer suggested that television manufacturers work together to improve the security software used in smart TVs and create a minimum-security standard that would be used by the whole the industry.

The New York Democrat said his comments were prompted by a recent study where researchers were able to able to hack into a smart TV’s Web browser and gain access to the TV’s built-in-camera.

“I was disturbed to read recent reports of hackers exploiting new features in television sets in order to break into the home entertainment systems of users and spy on unsuspecting channel surfers,” Schumer wrote in a letter to television manufacturers. “For a TV to secretly function as a spy-cam would violate a fundamental expectation of privacy in the American home.”