Belgium to investigate privacy of smart TVs

January 28, 2014 08.42 Europe/London By Robert Briel

Smart TVThe Belgian Privacycommissie is investigating aspects of privacy concerning smart TVs and set-top boxes from Telenet and Belgacom TV.

According to a report in De Morgen, the privacy commission was alarmed by developments in The Netherlands, where the activities of smart TV manufacturers came under scrutiny.

Both Telenet and Belgacom TV are keeping records of viewing behaviour of their customers. Samsung has also said that it keeps such records, but all parties emphasise the fact that customers can opt out.

“Legally, those companies are acting within the law,” commented Eva Wiertz, spokeswoman for the commission. “But that does not mean that recording viewing habits can’t cause privacy problems. In the case of Telenet and Belgacom, the customer must take the initiative to stop record keeping of his or her viewing habits.”

“So there are questions to ask,” added Wiertz. “That is why the privacy commission intends to thoroughly investigate the practice. “We know too little about the registration of the viewing habits to make sound recommendations for the viewers. Until today we have only received a very limited number of complaints, but that could change quickly.”