Samsung’s New Smart TV: So Smart You Might Call It Big Brother

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Digital Bucket says:

There’s a fine line between being paranoid and being well informed.  Woody Allen pretty much summed it up in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.

There’s a word for people who think that everyone is conspiring against them.

That’s right — perceptive.”

Hey, we love TV.  And HD LED TV’s continue to only get bigger, better and cheaper.  But now there appears to be one HUGE catch. The most significant tech news breaking today is that Samsung’s new Smart TV is turning out to be Big Brother’s wet dream – you’ll find proof of it in Samsung’s own “privacy” warning:

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.

You read that right. Samsung’s Smart TV will record your private conversations and data and share that information with a “third party”. We’re not sure how that’s legal, much less ethical, but if you love TV – and privacy – as much as we do, we thought you should know.

Here’s more from the BBC:

Samsung is warning customers about discussing personal information in front of their smart television set.

The warning applies to TV viewers who control their Samsung Smart TV using its voice activation feature.

Such TV sets “listen” to some of what is said in front of them and may share details they hear with Samsung or third parties, it said.

Privacy campaigners said the technology smacked of the telescreens, in George Orwell’s 1984, which spied on citizens.

Data sharing

The warning came to light via a story in online news magazine the Daily Beast which published an excerpt of a section of Samsung’s privacy policy for its net-connected Smart TV sets.

The policy explains that the TV set will be listening to people in the same room to try to spot when commands or queries are issued via the remote. It goes on to say: “If your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”

Corynne McSherry, an intellectual property lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which campaigns on digital rights issues, told the Daily Beast that the third party was probably the company providing speech-to-text conversion for Samsung.

She added: “If I were the customer, I might like to know who that third party was, and I’d definitely like to know whether my words were being transmitted in a secure form.”

Soon after, an activist for the EFF circulated the policy statement on Twitter comparing it to George Orwell’s description of the telescreens in his novel 1984 that listen to what people say in their homes.

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