Warning to the Public: Your Smart Televisions are Listening

by Vins

Samsung is alerting customers about data collection for third parties via certain Samsung products such as its smart television, Shane Harris reported for the Daily Beast. A single-line warning sentence in the middle of the sets’ Terms and Conditions states that, when the voice control feature is active, the TV sets “listen” to what is being said and transmit the information to an unnamed third party. Because most consumers neglect to read the product’s terms and conditions, they are unaware of how the televisions collect and retain data. Samsung stated that consumers consent to the terms and conditions by “us[ing] the voice recognition feature.” Consumer advocates have related this incident to George Orwell’s novel 1984, in which televisions are used as spying devices.

In addition to the Daily Beast article, the BBC has been one of the first major news outlets to bring the story to public attention. The news story of Samsung’s “listening” television has received some coverage in corporate sources, including CNN, but remains underreported given the implications of the findings and the number of people affected.

Sources:

Shane Harris, “Your Samsung SmartTV Is Spying on You, Basically,” Daily Beast, February 5, 2015, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/05/your-samsung-smarttv-is-spying-on-you-basically.html.

“Samsung Warns about ‘listening’ TV,” BBC News, February 9, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31296188.

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