Smart TVs And Your Privacy


Samsung made some news last week.   As we know, some smart TVs are always listening to the talking in the room.  The way the software works is that it captures all voice and looks for the trigger words.  Samsung, in it’s privacy policy, said

“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.”

So if you talk about your health, marital situation, a terrorist plot or anything else, that will be sent to Samsung and to the third parties that they use.

After the freak out ended, Samsung attempted to clarify what happens by saying this:

“If you enable Voice Recognition, you can interact with your Smart TV using your voice. To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some interactive voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service provider (currently, Nuance Communications, Inc.) that converts your interactive voice commands to text and to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you.”

It is not clear that this “clarification” made anyone feel any better.

So who does Samsung share your information with?

  • Affiliates – Samsung owned companies
  • Business partners
  • Service Providers
  • Law Enforcement

We don’t know what other TV makers do with your voice, but it is likely similar.

In addition, that data may be kept forever.  Their policy doesn’t say how long they keep it.

If we shift the conversation to the fight between Apple and the Department of Justice, maybe we need to ask if the San Bernadino shooter had a smart TV.

Likely, as in other Patriot Act warrants, the TV makers would not be allowed to tell you that the Feds want your conversations.  In very general terms, they could tell everyone about the range of the number of warrants they have received, after the fact.

There is a simple solution of course – don’t buy a smart TV or don’t enable the voice feature on it.


Information for this post came from SecureWorldExpo.

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