Is your TV watching you? The Samsung Privacy Policy Debacle

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If you own a Samsung HDTV with Smart TV technology; you may want to listen up.

Samsung’s Smart TV’s have the ability to listen to you and understand certain keywords in order to voice control the TV, such as lowering the volume or changing the channel.

What’s the problem with that?

See this extract from their privacy policy on the Samsung website,

Please note that when you watch a video or access applications or content provided by a third-party, that provider may collect or receive information about your Smart TV (e.g., its IP address and device identifiers), the requested transaction (e.g., your request to buy or rent the video), and your use of the application or service. Samsung is not responsible for these providers’ privacy or security practices. You should exercise caution and review the privacy statements applicable to the third-party websites and services you use.

 Samsung’s Smart TV not only listen to your conversations; it records them, and then uploads the data to their servers.

Scary. But worse yet, your data can be given to third party companies for possible uses including advertising and marketing. The complicated part about their privacy policy is that it isn’t quite clear what the data will be used for.

Samsung says, privacy policy not so scary

According to BBC, Samsung issued a response to “widespread sharing” of its privacy policy message, “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.”

So, in essence, not all conversations are recorded and saved to Samsung servers. It uploads the voice data when a voice command search is recognized.

Not so bad. But, there are other concerns to consider with this Smart TV technology. Some Smart TV’s now include a camera and can recognize facial features. How secure is all of this?

3 Comments
  1. dkreichen1968 says

    A few years ago Verizon took out a patent on technology that would use a camera to determine what was going on in a room (children playing, people cuddling, etc.) that would target advertising based on the findings. They said that they weren’t planning on using it, but wanted to patent it before anyone else did. The fact is we are being watched by our toys. Smart phones, smart TVs, etc. mean that if the government or corporations want to watch us, they certainly can. What kind of videos do you watch? What kind of things do you search for on the internet? Where do you spend your time? All of those things are accessible unless you opt out of the new technology. While it may not be feasible to track everyone, it is certainly feasible to track anyone.

  2. MrPogi says

    There is malware that can give a computer hacker complete access to your webcam.

    So put a bit of tape over all webcams unless you are actually using them.

  3. Unregistered says

    Actually, when you read their policy, they are being upfront in their disclosure

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