Lately, the news from the technology industry have been eclipsed, to an extent, by the troublesome stories about Samsung’s Smart TV, which is apparently “all ears” when it comes to your private conversations. The whole situation started with a Reddit post mentioning the lack of specific data capture behaviors from the company’s contract policies.
The user posted a bit of the policy the clients agree to, which basically said that the use of Voice Recognition does not stop recording your voice, even if your spoken words consist of personal and/or sensitive information, afterwards being transmitted to a third party. What other confirmation would we need that Samsung’s Smart TV software is capable of listening to everything we are saying, unless we tell it otherwise?
To nobody’s surprise, the news exploded in a mass panic, with the public voicing its outrage toward the South Korean company, accusing it of invading personal privacy all over the living rooms where the innocent devices silently send away a ton of private information for all sorts of reasons. However outraged the public may be, on the other hand, not only is this practice of “always listening” through Voice Recognition not new or used solely by Samsung, but it is also quite easy to turn off and avoid worrying about what your TV might share with others. If turning the feature off is not “safe” enough for you, nothing stops you from choosing to disconnect the TV from the internet entirely.
The bottom line of this shocking matter is that, nowadays, almost everything you do is traced, recorded and filed away, even if you’re not using Samsung’s product. Just think about it: every keyboard stroke, every website you have ever visited and every online purchase you have ever made is neatly filed. The only difference with the Smart TV is that it went all the way back to simply eavesdropping, instead of tracking your typed activity.
The company replied to the public frenzy, by explaining how easy it is to disable the voice recognition feature, which allows your TV to respond to the user’s voice commands. Moreover, it pointed out to the user’s option of disconnecting the TV from the internet. Samsung assured its customers that voice recognition does not follow or contain personal identifiers, instead using data such as TV commands or search words or sentences. For all the worried clients who don’t know whether the feature is on or not, check to see if the microphone icon appears on the screen.
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