Smart TVs made by Samsung and Toshiba and other manufacturers are using remote voice recognition to invade privacy

If you have to agree to a privacy policy before you can use a smart TV, it is capable of sending your conversations and your viewing history to a remote third party.

Samsung sells half of the smart TVs in the UK. They use voice recognition as well as a remote control to switch on and off, go into standby and to execute more complex commands such as adjusting the settings. This feature makes it possible to transmit conversations to a third party along with voice commands.

Samsung’s privacy policy, which has to be agreed with before the TV can be used, says: “If your words include sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.” Toshiba’s smart TVs also require its terms and conditions to be agreed with before they can be used.

Which, the consumer magazine, tested several makes of smart TV and discovered that all of the brands tested track viewing habits to some extent.

Therefore, if you find that the TV you have purchased has terms and conditions that have to be agreed with, you know why that is the case. If that happened to me, I would return the set to the vendor. If enough people did that the manufacturers would get the message not to send any captured data away from their TVs. However, most people are so used to agreeing with the terms and conditions required to use most software that they just agree with them without reading through them, mostly because they are very long and the language is impenetrable legalese.

Listening is turned on by default on Samsung’s smart TVs, but voice recognition can be turned off. However, even then, Samsung will still be collecting data in order to evaluate how well the TV’s features are working.

When voice recognition is active, complicated voice commands can only be acted upon if they are sent to a third party company in the USA called Nuance. The commands are translated and the response is sent back to the TV that carries them out, probably because it’s cheaper than having the voice recognition software installed on the TV itself and user data can be collected. At the price, of course, of invading the privacy of the householders.

To give a voice command the user has to press a button on the TV’s remote control while speaking the command, but all of the sounds in the room and within range of the TV’s microphone are collected and sent to Nuance.

The default setting of having voice recognition turned on instead of allowing the user to turn it on is suspicious because it makes it look as if Samsung wants it turned on. As we should all know by now, the USA’s National Security Agency (NAS) is collecting all of the electronic communications worldwide, so using a US company to collect the data adds even more suspicion. Moreover, how do we know that when monitoring features are turned off they aren’t still active?

The following story deals with “Samsung Smart TVs forcing ads into video streaming apps” –

In my opinion, the invasion of privacy is getting ridiculously way beyond what should be acceptable in a democratic country.

It’s not just smart TVs. Your home is full of gadgets that spy on you:

How internet giants are collecting your personal data through their high-tech devices –…

About Eric 275 Articles
I am an experienced PC technician who has been the owner and sole writer of the PC Buyer Beware! website since 2004. I am learning all the time in this very dynamic, ever-changing field.