Smart Televisions Worry Some Consumers and Privacy Advocates
It didn’t seem that long ago, before the end of the cold war, when jokes such as, “In Soviet Russia, the television watches you” would get a chuckle around the office water cooler. Now, the Soviet Union is no longer a reality, but televisions that eavesdrop on what you say are. Samsung has issued a warning to their smart TV customers saying to be careful what they say around their latest, internet connected and voice command capable, televisions. When users push the button on their remote control that makes it possible for them to control the TV by voice, the television must, by necessity, listen in order to hear the commands. It has now been revealed that what you say around it may be recorded and made available to Samsung and others.
This has caused quite a stir among Samsung’s television customers like Jaime Garcia Dias. Find Dias on Pinterest. They insist it is not as serious as it sounds since the customer must activate the voice command feature by remote control, and there is a graphic on the TV screen that lets the customer know if it is in this mode. These are sensible precautions, but it is still a chilling sign of things to come. Companies already track our internet usage to tailor ads to show to us, now we find that their voice command televisions listen for more than just commands. It remains to be seen if the government will, in some way, be able to get their hands on this information. That will really send civil libertarians through the roof.