Life Tech Shhhhh! Not in front of the TV
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Shhhhh! Not in front of the TV

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The days of holding important family discussions in the lounge room could be over, with one television manufacturer warning customers not reveal sensitive information near its eavesdropping devices.

Technology giant Samsung’s voice-activated Smart TV has attracted comparisons with the invasive telescreens used to spy on citizens in George Orwell’s novel 1984.

The privacy policy for the TV tells users of the voice recognition feature that if their spoken word contains personal or sensitive information, it could be “among the data captured and transmitted to a third party”.

Privacy campaigners have branded the policy “outrageous” and said Samsung needed to understand that not everyone wants to be spied on by their TV.

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According to reports, Samsung’s policy 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 through your use of voice recognition.

“While Samsung will not collect your spoken word, Samsung may still collect associated texts and other usage data so that we can evaluate the performance of the feature and improve it.”

Director of the privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, Emma Carr, said the policy was unacceptable.

“It is outrageous that the company has even stated in its own privacy policy that if the TV’s owner does decide not to share their private information, then the company may still take the information anyway.

“This leaves users with no knowledge or control over where your information goes or who has access to it and that is simply unacceptable.”

Samsung has insisted it takes customer privacy “very seriously” and any gathering of users’ information is carried out with the “utmost transparency”.

“Voice recognition, which allows the user to control the TV using voice commands, is a Samsung Smart TV feature, which can be activated or deactivated by the user,” a spokeswoman said.

– with AAP

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