Germany: BKA report shows transparency shortcomings with smart TV manufacturers
The Federal Cartel Office ('BKA') issued, on 1 July 2020, its final report ('the Report') on its inquiry into smart TVs. In particular, the BKA noted that it had established that almost all smart TV manufacturers active on the German market use privacy policies that have serious shortcomings in terms of transparency and thus violate the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) ('GDPR'). In addition, the Report outlines that smart TVs can collect personal data in many forms, and that a person's individual viewing habits, app use, surfing and click behaviour, or biometric data like voice or cursor movements, as well as contents played via the TV set, can be recorded and evaluated.
Furthermore, the BKA outlined consumer concerns such as difficulties in understanding privacy policies, and which data is transferred to third parties among other things. In addition, the BKA recommended that companies be obliged to provide necessary information such as product information, data protection, and setting options, in a clearer and simpler way. Finally, the BKA highlighted that a lot of manufactures do not ensure that their devices' security standards are maintained through software updates in the years after the purchase.