Samsung: Do Not Discuss Sensitive Data in Front of Your TV, We Might Record It
Believe it or not, by using a Samsung TV customers are susceptible to data collection transmitted to third parties. In fact, Samsung even warns customers to not discuss sensitive data in front of their TV, because it’s listening.
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.
While Samsung will not collect your spoken word, Samsung may still collect associated texts and other usage data so that we can evaluate the performance of the feature and improve it.
In response, people are taking to their copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and quoting the eerily similar text. Orwell writes that any sound his character Winston made is picked up by microphone. There is no way Winston would know if he was being listened to or not, but the Thought Police could tap in at any time.
When Microsoft unveiled their “always on” technology for the Xbox One, the move was met with similar disgust. The Xbox One has voice activation capabilities, leading consumers to be wary of when they were listening and what they were collecting.
Fortunately for Microsoft, they were able to scrap the idea before their product hit the market. Samsung, however, kept on their plan and clearly knew full and well what they were doing.
The Samsung Response? Trust Us, We Won’t Abuse Our Power
Samsung’s response was as canned as it was irresponsible. Instead of listening to consumer outcry and reworking their plans, they simply told everyone to trust them.
“Samsung does not retain voice data or sell it to third parties. 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.”
People have seen time and time again though that trustless systems heavily outweigh situations where trust is key. If Samsung isn’t going to sell customer data, why won’t they expressly write it in their terms and conditions? That way customers won’t have to go on their promises, and instead can hold them to a legally binding agreement.
Of course, making a legally binding promise may not be what Samsung had in mind.
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