Be careful what you say when your smart TV is on, Samsung warns customers

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Do you have a smart television? Better watch what you say in front of the TV set, Samsung is warning its customers.

Even if the owner opts out of the voice-recognition feature, which allows owners to request content by simply asking for it, the set will still capture what is said. The information, however, won’t be forwarded to a third party if voice-recognition has been turned off, CNN Money and the Daily Beast report.

“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,” says Samsung in the company’s privacy policy for its SmartTV.

Who is that third party? It isn’t clear from the disclosure, Corynne McSherry of the Electronic Frontier Foundation tells the Daily Beast. Likewise it isn’t clear from the privacy policy whether the transmissions are encrypted, she noted. Thus, although Samsung says it doesn’t retain the voice data or sell it to others, the television could potentially be hacked and used to eavesdrop if the data isn’t encrypted, she said.

In a written statement provided Friday to the Daily Beast, Samsung said data is encrypted and it is the owner’s choice whether to use the voice recognition feature:

“Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously. In all of our SmartTVs we employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use voice recognition, which allows the user to control the TV using voice commands, is a Samsung SmartTV feature, which can be activated or deactivated by the user. The TV owner can also disconnect the TV from the Wi-Fi network.”

Hat tip: Daily Mail

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Salon: “I’m terrified of my new TV: Why I’m scared to turn this thing on — and you’d be, too “

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