Tags: samsung | tv | eavesdropping

Samsung TV Eavesdropping? Voice Command Features Stirs Controversy

By    |   Monday, 09 Feb 2015 05:16 PM

Samsung’s Smart TV may be eavesdropping on your conversations, according to the company’s privacy warning, which some are comparing to George Orwell’s "1984."

The Daily Beast was one of the first to point out this concerning statement in Samsung’s policy: “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.”

An activist with the Electronic Freedom Frontier organization, which focuses on digital rights, posted a copy of the Samsung policy on the left and compared it to a passage from   novel “1984” on the right:



Others online, including a Reddit thread, spread the warning about possible privacy violations that apparently kick in when Samsung TV watchers turn on the voice commands on their smart TVs. Many questioned whether the TV's listening capabilities worked if the voice command program was turned off.

Wrote one person on Reddit, “My 2 cents: If the feature exists at all, assume they can do it without your permission.”



After concerns were raised, Samsung issued a statement explaining that voice recognition is active on the remote control and the privacy policy was published to make sure users understood the issues.

"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."

A company called Nuance handles the job of translating speech to text, Samsung told BBC.

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Samsung's Smart TV may be eavesdropping on your conversations, according to the company's privacy warning, which some are comparing to George Orwell's "1984."
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2015-16-09
Monday, 09 Feb 2015 05:16 PM
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