PSA: Samsung Smart TVs are listening to your words

Samsung logo blue background

United Kingdom residents who are also Samsung Smart TV owners have something new to worry about today – Samsung’s voice recognition software carries with it an End-User License Agreement (EULA) that says that Samsung will be capturing words spoken to and in the presence of the TV and will sell off the captured information to third-party companies who wish to advertise their services to you. Although the feature can be disabled, enabling it will start the capturing process that, according to Samsung’s policy, will be able to grab sensitive information like ID numbers, phone numbers and other personal information (if you’re reading this, own a Smart TV and have already been mumbling the location of Paul Kruger’s gold, well… its probably gone now).

Replying to the online furore that started when Reddit users pointed this out, Samsung did not apologise for the use of the technology, saying that they employ “industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use.”

The company further stated that only pertinent information like commands, search terms and instructions given to the TV are recorded for later use. Samsung recommends that if users are not happy with the data mining service attached to the use of voice commands, they must simply disable the service or disconnect their TV from the WiFi network. If you’re looking at the headline of that link to the EULA, you may notice that it says “Samsung Global Privacy Policy,” and not specifically referencing the UK, so if affects us as well.

In fact, Samsung totally hijacks all your private information stored on any of their devices and services and use of any of these things gives Samsung your express consent to have your harvested information transferred internationally. If you’re comfortable with that, carry on. If you’re not, then there’s not much hope because pretty much any company in the world that can do this is already doing it.

You may just have to go back to a dumbphone and use Linux if you want to avoid most of the data mining that’s happening in the tech world. If you’d like to voice your dissatisfaction with Samsung’s data mining of the voice recognition service, you can do so here.

Source: Tom’s Hardware