From the [now] out-dated policy (emphasis added by us)…
Pretty scary stuff, when you consider what it pretty much says is that if you reveal personal information in the vicinity of your Samsung Smart TV, then too bad, that information is getting sent to ‘third parties’ without really saying what could potentially happen to that information.
So, to clarify a few points…
Samsung Smart TVs are programmed to recognise specific commands if voice controls are enabled, such as commands to decrease the volume or change the channel. So yes, if the feature is enabled, the TV has to constantly “listen” so it knows when you voice any of these specific commands.
However in this case, any information deemed NOT to be a command is neither stored nor transmitted anywhere. Basically, according to Samsung, it gets immediately forgotten.
…the third party, however, is a company that translates your voice into text so the Smart TV can act upon it. But importantly, to use this feature you have to initiate it by voicing a command or pressing the relevant button on the remote, much like you initiate Siri/Cortana on your smartphone. So this means that this “extra smart” feature isn’t constantly listening to you or spying on you at all. You initiate it, speak, and your voice gets sent to the company for translation, returned to the TV which acts on the command, and then the listening feature turns off.
So it isn’t really as bad as the policy makes out, it would seem.
You can also deactivate the voice recognition feature completely, or even go as far as disconnecting the TV from your Wi-Fi network (though of course most of the “smart” features won’t work if you do that)
So, in this case, unless your activating the smart voice command feature and then immediately shouting out your credit card information into the remote control, which then somehow manages to get intercepted by a cyber-criminal capable of both intercepting and decrypting that information, you really don’t have too much to worry about.
But it’s yet another incident that raises certain concerns… with voice recognition technology becoming more commonplace in everyday devices like TVs as well as computers, smartphones and even in your car, it means we’re placing more trust in companies with a potential wealth of our personal information.
In the case of these voice recognition devices, do you trust the companies to handle your information responsibly, especially considering they could theoretically record & transmit anything you say? In a world where we’re relying on the trust of companies privacy policies to an ever greater extent, you have to ask yourself, how much information about yourself are you willing to potentially put at risk for the sake of convenience?
Have your say below.