Careful what you say: Your Samsung TV might be listening

Byabc

Your-Samsung-TV-might-be-listeningSamsung warns customers new Smart TVs ‘listen in’ on users’ personal conversations

Samsung has come under fire from privacy campaigners after it emerged the company’s new smart TVs are capable of listening to your conversations.

The issue was first highlighted by the Daily Beast, which warned readers not to talk about incriminating matters such as “tax evasion” and “drug use” in front their TV sets.

Hidden away in Samsung’s privacy policy is a single sentence which may change the way you behave in front of your TV:

“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.”

The privacy policy goes on to warn:

“In addition, Samsung may collect and capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features.”

Viewers hoping to take advantage of the voice activation feature have been warned by Samsung not to disclose personal information because voice recordings can be captured and transmitted to unidentified third parties.

Samsung insists it takes consumer privacy seriously, but did not name the third party which translates speech to text.

Even viewers who do not activate the voice recognition feature are still at risk of being snooped on, as the machine continues to collect data through its microphones. The only way to stop a Samsung smart TV from eavesdropping on your conversation is to disable voice recognition data collection in the settings menu.

Samsung-warns-customers-new-Smart-TVs-listen-in-on-users-personal-conversations
Careful, the TV might hear you (photo:Flickr, Wonderlane, CC BY 2.0)

Samsung claims it collects transcribed voice data in order to improve the technology’s features.

An investigation last year by consumer magazine Which? found that smart TVs made by LG, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, and Toshiba track people’s viewing habits – something consumers agree to when they accept the TV’s terms and conditions.

Users who choose not to accept their TV’s terms and conditions may end up reverting to a not-so-smart television. While Toshiba and LG block internet access and apps, Samsung reportedly stops customers from using the TV at all.

Privacy campaigners have compared the TV sets to ‘telescreens’ – televisions which also act as surveillance cameras in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Electronic Frontier Foundation activist Park Higgins compared Samsung’s privacy policy to the famous book in a tweet on Sunday. It has already received 14,000 retweets.

Samsung has responded to the public backlash against its privacy policy, claiming it takes such concerns “very seriously.”

“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,” the company said.

Are new Smart TVs too smart for our own good?

We all know how it feels to have a big set of ears around the house – that child or house-guest who picks up on everything you say, forcing you into furtive whispered conversations, darting glances and the odd shared note.

But now anyone who wants to upgrade to the latest home entertainment gadgetry is being warned to prepare for more inquisitive ears.

Careful-what-you-say-Your-Samsung-TV-might-be-listening
Reuters / Jo Yong-Hak

As one leading technology manufacturer has now acknowledged, household appliances have advanced to the point where they’re starting to “listen in” on our conversations.

In its privacy policy for its latest smart TVs, Samsung has issued a warning to customers against discussing any personal or sensitive information around the telly when its voice recognition feature is activated.

Here’s how the policy states that warning, as vocalized by another well-known voice recognition application.

SIRI: Please be aware that if you’re 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. Would you like to reply?

Of course anyone with Siri or something similar on their phone knows you have to be careful what you say sometimes.

See also: New app reveals how your smartphone can spy on you without permission

But what troubles some observers about smart household goods like TVs and other products is the fact that you may not always be sure when your new gadget is listening in.

I suppose the interesting thing, or the interesting difference between the television and the phone example is that when you’re dictating into a phone you know exactly what you’re doing, whereas with a television you might just be sitting around chatting to your friends and you’re inadvertently activating sort of this voice command technology which will start recording what you’re saying.

Technology experts admit that “big brother” may not be actually paying any attention to what we say just yet, more how we say it.

But where can it go?

When it says don’t discuss personal information in front of your TV, what it’s actually saying is that identifiers of your voice are being sent to third party services when you’re using this television. LG has a very similar clause in its terms and conditions as well.

So what are these third party services doing with our voices? Are they actually keeping recordings of what we’re saying?

They’re not so much keeping recordings so much as keeping data points. Those data points mean what you’re voice inflection sounds like, you know, which words that you said.

For example the Australian accent in particular is very, very difficult to decode. Samsung worked with people at Macquarie University to actually figure out what people were saying before they could bring voice recognition to Australia. Microsoft had similar problems as well.

So it’s about getting a better quality of service. But it really raises questions about what we’re going to do in the smart home in the future. This is the first time that people have actually recognized that, hey, this might be a problem if we start giving all of our information over in our smart home to third party services.

Sourceabc

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

This Man One Ups Tesla By Inventing An Electric Car That Never Needs Charging

The concept of the electric car has been around for a very long time, and as with any other world revolutionizing technology, it’s taken...

Scientists grow human tooth

Scientists in China say they have successfully grown a human tooth using stem cells taken from urine.

People Can See Sound. Here Is How!

People can actually see SOUND. Researchers have found out that, in some cases, when the part of the brain devoted to sight is small,...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Complete List of BANKS Owned/Controlled by the Rothschild Family

What’s the significance of having a central bank within a country and why should you concern yourself, your family and colleagues? Central banks are illegally...

Racial wounds rip open under a president with a history of exploiting them

President Donald Trump has spent much of his adult life building his brand around racial divisions.

This Man One Ups Tesla By Inventing An Electric Car That Never Needs Charging

The concept of the electric car has been around for a very long time, and as with any other world revolutionizing technology, it’s taken...

Earth’s magnetic field is collapsing

Forget global warming, worry about the MAGNETOSPHERE: Earth's magnetic field is collapsing and it could affect the climate and wipe out power grids A European...

Teleportation From One Location to Another

Scientists Report Teleportation of Physical Objects From One Location To Another The concept of teleportation mainly stems from science fiction novels and movies, but what...

ET3 is literally “Space Travel on Earth”

ET3 is literally "Space Travel on Earth". ET3 stands for Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies. ET3 is silent, low cost, safe, faster than jets, and...

Another Groundbreaking Study Emerges Linking Agricultural Pesticides To Autism – And That’s Not All

Numerous studies have clearly outlined the health and environmental dangers that are associated with pesticides, more specifically, agricultural pesticides. They’ve been linked to cancer, birth...

Vladimir Putin: Russia Must Protect Its Citizens from GMOs

Russia has enough mechanisms to protect the market and citizens from genetically modified food, without violating its obligations to the WTO, Russian President Vladimir...

Colombian Town Rejects $35 Billion Gold Mine in Preference of Clean Air, Water, Simple Life

The World Bank wants its gold mining project in Cajamarc, Colombia badly, but the people of this small town just voted against the mammoth...

Energy Drinks and Your Heart: Know the Risks

Study Exposes The Exact Effect of Energy Drinks On The Heart Energy Drinks have been found to cause irreversible damage to tooth enamel and detrimentally...