Is your TV or smart technology tracking you?
BUNCOMBE COUNTY-- —
Do you want convenience or privacy? Some say it's one or the other when it comes to smart technology.
Recently, the federal government fined Vizio more than $1 million for tracking what people were watching on smart TV's without consent and then selling the data to a third party.
Almost all the TV's for sale at Best Buy can connect to the internet. We found one shopper specifically looking to get a TV with internet capability for business.
For convenience, he was willing to potentially sacrifice some privacy.
"I really don't do anything that anybody would find terribly interesting," Adam Breakey said.
All over the store you see the word "smart." You can hear what that means when you press on an Amazon Echo.
"Hello, I'm Alexa, a cloud-based voice service that powers the Echo Dot," the device says.
Smart devices like the Echo are listening, and record when prompted.
"Well, in this day and time, convenience is everything. I mean, you can push a button for this and push a button for that," Pat Solomon said. "To me, I think convenience would outweigh the privacy."
In an Arkansas murder case, a prosecutor believes an Echo may have collected evidence and wants Amazon to turn over what was recorded before and after a man was killed.
Amazon is fighting it, and recently argued what the owner said is protected free speech and what Alexa said is, too.
"The more convenient we want these smart devices to be, then the more information we need to feed them," said Jose Ibarra, the head of a local tech firm called Applied Solutions Group.
Ibarra's firm tries to optimize a search for home buyers and also works to make it easier to learn a new language. He said this work requires people to share their information, which is also true for many smart devices.
"If it doesn't have the answer today, it may have the answer tomorrow. That all requires the storage of private information," he said.
Ibarra asks people for consent and stops storing data upon request. The federal government says Vizio violated public trust by storing billions of data points per day from smart TV's without consent, and the government says Vizio allowed a third party to identify the users.
The owner of Stan's Electronics knows the inner workings of these TV's. He says new TV's are easier to fix, because they have fewer parts, but they are also more powerful.
"Some of the manufacturers will put in their manuals this TV has a camera, so if it's going to in your bedroom shut it (the camera) off," said Stanley Yurth.
Other safety tips include reading the manual, disconnecting your TV from the internet when not in use, not to do banking on your TV and be as cautious as you would be on your computer.
You can see what information Google keeps about you here.
You can see what activity Amazon stores here.