Editor's Notebook: No Kidding- Our TV Is Eavesdropping

Editor's Notebook: No Kidding- Our TV Is Eavesdropping

I  am a trusting person who believes in technology, but the revelation that our Samsung Smart TV is so bright it listens to our conversations in the living room has rocked my world. Voice recognition was built into the TV as a convenience—in case it’s too much work to push the buttons on the remote—but it actually is listening to everything in the room.  

We bought the TV for its amazing picture quality and don’t care about voice activation. Even so, it arrived with the feature engaged. We can opt out, of course, but who seriously thinks to read the fine print or look at the privacy policy for something that sits in your living room? I do now! 

Here’s what the privacy policy says:

“To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service that converts speech to text or to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you. In addition, 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.”

Holy moly. I was already weirded out when I learned from the privacy policy our TV also has a camera that arrived engaged ... so now the TV is not only listening, it is watching us too! Time to race downstairs and take that thing off the grid!

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