A “smart” TV that can be controlled simply by the user talking to it. Sounds like a great plan, no more looking for the lost remote…But it may sound a little less enticing when you realize that it is listening to all of your personal conversations too.
A new line of Smart TVs, recently unveiled by Samsung, that use voice recognition software to allow users to control their TVs just with the sound of their voice.
However, most people haven’t carefully read through ever little booklet that came with their nifty new device and therefore are unaware that their vocal commands are transmitted through a third party responsible for converting the speech to text.
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.
Since several news outlets have picked up the story, Samsung decided to issue a statement insisting that consumers have nothing to fear. The company said that voice data is not saved, they don’t sell information to other third parties, and they use data encryption. They also stated that user privacy is of the utmost importance they take these steps because “to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use.”
Samsung also points out that users who are still concerned are able to deactivate the voice recognition capabilities by using a text feature instead or by disconnecting the device from wifi altogether.
According to security expert Bruce Schneier, it isn’t just Smart TVs that come with these types of privacy concerns.
Whether it’s your TV listening to your voices or your cellphone knowing where you are, or your thermostat knowing who’s in the room, this kind of thing is the future.
He added that there is no way to know that any of this information is 100 percent safe because the systems may not necessarily be secure.
They can be hacked,” he said. “We know again and again that there are vulnerabilities in the system and we’ve seen many times where criminals and government take advantage of this.
Schneier also pointed out that although many devices and sensors use this kind of troubling technology, it isn’t often talked about.
This feature in Samsung, the only reason we know about it, Samsung’s talking about it, is because someone noticed it in the fine print. Right. This isn’t something, even now, they’ve been forced to talk about it. So a lot of stuff can be listening, in a lot of different ways, and we as consumers just don’t know.
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Featured image via Wikimedia Commons