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Samsung Smart TVs Are Listening To EVERY Word You Say!

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Tech giant Samsung has warned customers against discussing personal or sensitive information in front of its voice-activated televisions. The South Korean company had a rough weekend, after it was noticed that the terms of its Privacy Policy for TVs with voice recognition bear an uncanny resemblance to the text of George Orwell’s book 1984.

B9T_ejfCIAEAXpYPrivacy campaigners have branded the policy “outrageous” and made comparisons to Orwell’s description of telescreens, which spied on citizens in the novel. At its simplest, the problem is that a TV designed to operate based on your voice is – by definition – listening. And it will send anything it hears for translation on its service including private conversations.

The comparison above is pretty obvious. And the relevant passage of Samsung’s privacy policy states in no uncertain terms that if your spoken words include “personal or other sensitive information”, and they are picked up while you’re using Voice Recognition, that’s going straight to a third-party’s servers for translation:

The policy says:

“You can control your SmartTV, and use many of its features, with voice commands. If you enable Voice Recognition, you can interact with your Smart TV using your voice. To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service that converts speech to text or to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you.

In addition, Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features. 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’s warning is a general one, covering but not necessarily applying to all of its Smart TV sets. If your set doesn’t have Voice Recognition – or you’ve chosen to turn it off – you have nothing to worry about. (We Hope) They can tell you it’s off, but in reality it’s still recording conversations.

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