Apart from the NSA, there are other entities that are reportedly spying on you, or at least have the potential to. The really sleek Smart TV that Samsung has been leading the market with in its segment, is apparently listening into user conversations.
“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.” Another section warns that apart from voice commands being transmitted through the internet connected television, device information, “including device identifiers,” may go over the internet to the third-party service, “or to the extent necessary to provide Voice Recognition features to you.”
The identity of the “third party” remains undisclosed.
Speaking on the matter, Corynne McSherry, the intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes, “It looks like they are using a third-party service to convert speech to text, so that’s most of what is being disclosed here.” She pointed out that, although, Samsung’s policy is only aimed at accommodating future modifications, the policy at face value could mean a lot more.
If the beamed information is not secure enough, any miscreant can gain control of the device.
The embedded voice recognition software enables viewer communication with the television by talking to it. However this application can be switched off at convenience.
Samsung responded to the concern:
“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. Voice recognition, which allows the user to control the TV using voice commands, is a Samsung Smart TV feature, which can be activated or deactivated by the user. The TV owner can also disconnect the TV from the Wi-Fi network.”
(Image credit: Kārlis Dambrāns, via Flickr)