Feb 092015
 
 February 9, 2015  Business

Carrie Ann writes:

South Korean tech giant Samsung has acknowledged that its smart TV products feature a voice recognition technology that captures voice data from users and transmits data gathered to an unnamed third-party company.

Samsung was recently condemned by privacy advocates for its alarming feature. The company’s privacy policy warns users to be careful when speaking about personal or other sensitive information next to the device as it can record data and transmit it to third parties. The Smart TV’s privacy policy also reveals what other data Samsung gathers.

According to Samsung’s Smart TV privacy policy, it reads, “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.”

Read more on Industry Leaders Magazine. TechCrunch has a response from Samsung:

In all of our Smart TVs we employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use.

Voice recognition, which allows the user to control the TV using voice commands, is a Samsung Smart TV feature, which can be activated or deactivated by the user. The TV owner can also disconnect the TV from the Wi-Fi network. Should consumers enable the voice recognition capability, the voice data consists of TV commands, or search sentences, only. Users can easily recognize if the voice recognition feature is activated because a microphone icon appears on the screen.

Samsung does not retain voice data or sell it to third parties. If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search. At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV. 

So that response suggests that users should know that their voice data can be captured while the microphone icon is lit on their screen, and they can turn off the feature if they don’t want to run any risk. Their response doesn’t really seem to deny that sensitive comments might be captured and transmitted.

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