Samsung Smart TV

Samsung Smart TV sparks privacy fears over recording living room conversations

Samsung Smart TV

The voice controls behind Samsung’s Smart TVs have raised privacy fears, after the company’s relevant privacy policy notes that the television may record what people say in their own homes and pass that information to a third party.

Whilst Samsung does not name the company or companies that to which it send the audio recordings, Nuance is one likely contender as it provides voice-recognition and analysis to a number of technology companies, including possibly Apple’s Siri.

Sending the data to third parties should raise alarm, as the data may be being sent or sold to other parties. However, if the data is only being sent for voice recognition purposes, then the Samsung TVs are no different to a number of other devices on the market that can be set to have ‘always on’ voice controls, including the Amazon Echo, Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect, and some Android smartphones.

Selling the data to advertisers would be a huge privacy misstep for Samsung or any other technology company, and it is unlikely that the South Korean technology giant would have gone down that route. However, raising the possibility and getting people talking about the privacy implications on such ‘always on’ voice systems is important so that it will guide future implementations.

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