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The Global Internet Is a Mirage

  • August 10, 2020

But it’s not productive to pine for a utopian internet that never really existed. When technologists lament the fracturing of the internet world, I wonder if what they’re really mourning is the fracturing of the world, period.

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Brian X. Chen, a personal technology columnist for The New York Times, walks through the benefits and drawbacks of “smart” televisions that let us download Netflix, YouTube and other video services directly from our sets.

Carolyn Moore from Lubbock, Texas, asked, “Can you write about the pros and cons of buying a smart TV during the pandemic?”

It’s an intriguing question because for the most part, you don’t have a choice but to get a smart TV these days. A vast majority of new televisions from reputable brands connect to the internet and include streaming apps from providers like Netflix and Amazon.

Even the cheap TVs tend to be “smart,” in large part because they collect information about our viewing activity and location. The data, which is shared with third-party marketers, has become an additional revenue stream for television makers.

That’s the major downside of smart TVs: They compromise privacy. My colleagues in Smarter Living wrote a step-by-step guide to opting out of data tracking by sets sold by Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio, TCL and Roku. It’s worth revisiting.

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