Your ‘Smart’ TV could be a security risk

I am going to assume a whole lot of us almost ALWAYS sit in front of our televisions and chat away about anything and everything. I am also almost certain that most of us talk about things that would make even those four walls crumble. The smart television you have your meals and chat away in front of, could be recording everything you say, just like me you’d probably throw it out the window (not literally ) once you know this, and get rid of all evidence that you ever uttered anything forbidden you ought not to. If you own a Samsung smart TV, you might just have to make this a reality because you may not have the privacy you think you have.

There was recent havoc regarding privacy concerns on the brands’ smart TV voice recognition feature. As I went digging I stumbled upon an article by, the privacy policy suggested that the brand captures conversations which might include personal or other sensitive information that may be shared with a third party called Nuance, at any given time.



Why share my Information?


Being such a huge reputable brand with an obvious number of loyal customers, any brand in that capacity would have their PR team have their strategy and tactics in check, to keep the masses calm. It is definitely a necessity to explain why the “breach” in what has been deemed one of the best brands to have for domestic, personal and office use. Samsung explained, but like you, I don’t think I care much who is on the receiving end all I want to know is why my private conversations are being shared with firms that have no business invading anyone’s home.
So this is how it works, since Nuance is a company that vitally specializes in voice recognition, voice commands are sent to their servers and the spoken words are translated to text, after which their servers send a command to your Samsung smart TV.

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A clause from an old privacy policy stated the following: “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.”

Samsung updated the privacy policy and included a more extensive explanation. I am guessing they hoped this takes away all concerns. Enabling Voice Recognition means you can interact with your Smart TV using your voice. To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some interactive voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party, currently Nuance Communications. They convert your interactive voice commands to text, and to the extent necessary, provide the Voice Recognition features finally to the end user, you.


Regulations and data Protection


Without vying for a place in the topic regarding these never unending terror attacks, I cannot help but wonder if Samsung is on to something here. Brussels’s option to adopt new legislation – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – that is aimed at protection from abuse and misuse of private data and consumer behaviour data collected by smart equipment such as television sets. This, however, comes at a time when the Belgian capital fell victim to terror attacks just a day ago. On the other hand, if having something like this that somehow enables (without infringing our human rights to privacy) collection of consumer behavioural data through certain functionalities such as voice, motion control and facial recognition can help stop some of these attacks from happening then I would absolutely say yes.
This could mean more brands will invest in making sure this feature is a must on their ‘smart’ creations. I suppose eventually it won’t be a matter of choice. All I can say is these voice prompting options we choose are not what they seem.

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Sometime last year Samsung made a reassuring statement saying: “These functions are enabled only when users agree to the separate Samsung Privacy Policy and Terms of Use regarding this function when initially setting up the TV. Apart from initial setup, users are given the choice to activate or deactivate the voice recognition feature at any time.”





Having read this, are you at ease having a smart TV, do you think consumers rights to their privacy are a tad bit violated?

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