This TV Brand is Warning Customers That it Spies on Personal Conversations

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Sitting around for some time with your husband or wife with the TV on and maybe your talking about, say, your child’s grades at school or how much you owe on your Credit Card? Well you may not be the only one listening anymore, at least according to Samsung who updated their SmartTV privacy policy to say that, in short, their TV’s collect data about you. While this may sound like a big joke, it really isn’t at all. Below is the update to the privacy policy and an image capture.

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.

And.

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Now I went directly to their privacy policy on their site and found this to either not be there, or more likely, to have been removed due to increased privacy pressure. I’m just trying to be a fair journalist, but it isn’t as if they can update all the sold boxes to not include the collection of personal data. In 2015, Samsung actually changed this policy after backlash, but it sounds more like they changed the policy to placate people rather than because they made a mistake in the original verbiage. Here’s an excerpt from Cnet.com.

The wording suggested troubling possibilities. Now Samsung has decided to change its privacy policy to, the company told me, “better explain what actually occurs.”

So what actually does occur? Great question, let’s have a look at that “clarification.”

If you enable Voice Recognition, you can interact with your Smart TV using your voice. To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some interactive voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service provider (currently, Nuance Communications, Inc.) that converts your interactive voice commands to text and to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you. In addition, Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features. Samsung will collect your interactive voice commands only when you make a specific search request to the Smart TV by clicking the activation button either on the remote control or on your screen and speaking into the microphone on the remote control.

The answer to the million dollar question is……wait for it….ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Your voice, what you say at dinner or in the bedroom, is being transmitted to Nuance Communications. This company, Nuance Communications, according to their own pitch, is ‘reinventing the relationship between people and technology.’ Does reinvinting that relationship include transcribing me asking my wife if we can eat watermelon in the bed while Homeland is on? How could it not? It isn’t as if Samsung denies this, they just “clarify” it. Anytime someone has to clarify anything you should have your guard up. Hitler ‘clarified’ a lot of things also when he deployed spy techniques. The Government often ‘clarifies’ things when they collect roughly half of your wages and then go golfing over the summer.

feature Photo by Jason Cipriani

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