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Is Your Television Listening To You?

If you want privacy, step away from your television! Samsung have informed consumers that their voice controlled Smart TVs may be able to pick up personal conversations and transmit that information back to the company and third parties.

Samsung’s privacy policy states that the device listens out for commands that are issued by the user via the remote control. However, the television may be able to listen to all conversations, not just commands. Therefore, if the words spoken include personal or private information this can also be picked up and will then be among the data captured and transmitted.

The voice recognition functionality has been designed to allow users to operate their television sets with speech commands that can perform Internet searches, channel changes and can turn the device on and off, but would seem it can do a little more than that!

When the feature is active it sets the TV to ‘listen’ mode. This works by allowing the user to speak to the TV with a command or operation it would like it to fulfil, the data is then sent to a server, which will then search for the relevant command or content and then returns the desired request back.

Since the revelation, Samsung has said that the policy was an attempt to be completely transparent with consumers to enable them to make informed choices about whether they should use certain features. The company have also said they take consumer privacy extremely seriously and say that all users are made aware when the voice activation feature is on because a microphone icon appears on the screen.

How does this make you feel? Would you buy one or has this made you think twice about your privacy? We would love to hear your thoughts, tweet us @ITC_Sales.

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