Your Smart TV, Is It Listening to Your Private Conversations?

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February 9, 2015

Cnet:

Why worry about Big Brother?

It’s your big Samsung TV that’s watching you. Oh, and listening to you.

That seems to be the conclusion from reading the privacy small print offered by the company. (Samsung’s motto: TV has never been this smart.)

It concerns the voice-recognition feature, vital for everyone who finds pressing a few buttons on their remote far too tiresome.

The wording, first spotted by the Daily Beast, first informs you that the company may “capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features.”

This is almost understandable. It’s a little like every single customer service call, supposedly recorded to make your next customer service call far, far more enjoyable.

However, the following words border on the numbing: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

We are NOT having your mother here this weekend, next weekend or ANY weekend!

I’m pregnant and it’s not yours.

The possibilities curdle in the mind. So much so that I have contacted Samsung to ask how broad this policy might be and what third parties might be informed of your personal conversations. (I would have just shouted at my SmartTV to get comment, but it isn’t a Samsung.)

A Samsung spokeswoman told me: “Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously. In all of our Smart TVs we employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use.”

But what might be authorized and by whom?

Samsung’s spokeswoman continued: ” Should consumers enable the voice recognition capability, the voice data consists of TV commands, or search sentences, only. Users can easily recognize if the voice recognition feature is activated because a microphone icon appears on the screen.”

Yes, we must now look for little microphone icons to check whether we’re being listened to.

As for the third parties mentioned in the privacy policy, Samsung explained it to me like this: “Samsung does not retain voice data or sell it to third parties. If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search. At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV.”

More at Cnet:

5 thoughts on “Your Smart TV, Is It Listening to Your Private Conversations?

  1. This has been rectified and was posted several years back, you want a good story, watch what “THEY” are doing to us through our smart phones, on or off including GPS and locator off.

    Like

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