Monday, February 15, 2016

Do not buy a Samsung Smart TV

It listens to your conversations and uploads them to the 'net:
In a troubling new development in the domestic consumer surveillance debate, an investigation into Samsung Smart TVs has revealed that user voice commands are recorded, stored, and transmitted to a third party. The company even warns customers not to discuss personal or sensitive information within earshot of the device.

...

The new Samsung controversy stems from the discovery of a single haunting statement in the company’s “privacy policy,” which states:
“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.” 
Samsung seems to be kind of sort of disputing what this means, but there's no doubt about what their privacy policy said.  And much of the discussion from them has a "we're really unhappy that we got caught" flavor.

My recommendation is to not buy one of these things.  Having a major product line get shut down because of this sort of thing is exactly what the industry needs to take privacy more seriously.

8 comments:

parascribe said...

I guess Orwell's telscreen have been fully realized

Borepatch said...

Parascribe, it's been realized for quite some time.

What's different here is that it's showing up in consumer devices where there isn't a professional IT staff to manage things.

And where the expectation is one-way communications (broadcast), not two-way (broad band).

drjim said...

Uhhh...don't let it connect to a network?

Put tape over the microphone hole?

parascribe said...

I guess the next step is to make them mandatory...you're such a cheery guy!

Matt W said...

Hmm great, we have 3 of them in the house. Although I'm not sure our models have voice commands. Time to find out!

Spike said...

Any tv connected to the Internet will spy on you. Nature of the beast. But I would definitely rip the microphone off any TV I had.

ShallNOTBeInfringed Original said...

SAMSUNG ALL THE TV'S ;>

R.K. Brumbelow said...

It is important to realize that these devices need not be connected to your home network to operate in 'no such agency" mode. Microphones need not be visible and cameras/mics do not nescessaraly turn off because the LED turns off. Some operate over cell networks. Also, remember that these are private companies, companies for whom your data is money and who may well soon be required to turn over data, that the government could not obtain legally w/o a warrant, at will.