Samsung’s new “Smart TVs” might be a little too smart for comfort.
The televisions can be operated by voice commands, which might be convenient, but it also means the machines will pick up any oral communications in their range.
“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,” the privacy statement reads.
The little-noticed statement was first reported by the Daily Beast on Thursday.
Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the website that it appears Samsung is using a third party to convert voice commands to text, but it’s still grounds for concern.
“If I were the customer, I might like to know who that third party was, and I’d definitely like to know whether my words were being transmitted in a secure form,” she said.
Samsung responded to the Daily Beast’s request for comment with the following statement.
“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,” the statement read.
“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.”
Still the Twitterverse was not happy about the news with many comparing the policy to George Orwell’s “1984.”
— Parker Higgins (@xor) February 8, 2015
1910s: Free speech vs "shouting fire in a crowded theater". 2010s: Free speech vs whispering in front of your Samsung Smart TV home theater.
— Antonio A. Casilli (@AntonioCasilli) February 8, 2015
Samsung Smart TV will send everything anyone in your house says back to Big Brother for analysis pic.twitter.com/PwTY8sSrMm HT @montymunford
— Simon Phipps (@webmink) February 8, 2015
Shouldn't have to live on edge knowing #Samsung are twigging your conversations.lost my business. #GeorgeOrwell #1984 pic.twitter.com/hkwIkZvgMx
— Black Knight (@BlackKnightWX) February 9, 2015
Orwell was right and 1984 has arrived thanks to #Samsung BBC – Not in front of the telly: Warning over 'listening' TV http://t.co/Jkd1uII24h
— Jeremy Hoare (@TopTVCameraman) February 9, 2015
Owell's 1984 has come to fruition: Samsung admits voice controlled smart TV's are listening to your conservations. http://t.co/cX87s0zVZY
— Craig Chappell (@TheLegal_Eagle) February 9, 2015
Big Brother is listening: "Today In Creepy Privacy Policies, Samsung’s Eavesdropping TV" http://t.co/6PA2jZAqKb via @techcrunch
— Ariz Matute (@ArizMatute) February 9, 2015
TV maker: Don't discuss personal info in front of screen Your worst fears about Big Brother are apparently true…. http://t.co/25a4DU224C
— WND News (@worldnetdaily) February 8, 2015
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