Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features.
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.
This is the latest example of how much the Internet-connected devices are capable of proliferating in our private lives, or in particular, what does an intelligent TV can cost its users’ in order to give them access to a service. And this is something that is not limited to Samsung. Almost all the companies on Internet, including Google and Apple, have their own policies for data collection.
In 2013, Samsung’s fellow Korean TV maker LG was embroiled in a similar controversy in UK, when its SmartTVs were accused of capturing its users’ data and selling it to advertisers. The company, however, promised to change its policies.
Samsung has now issued a statement to various publications about the working of its Voice Recognition SmartTV feature. According to a Samsung spokeswoman: “In all of our Smart TVs we employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use.”
The voice recognition feature can be activated or deactivated by the user, she said, adding that the SmartTV users can also disconnect the TV from the wireless network. “Should consumers enable the voice recognition capability, the voice data consists of TV commands, or search sentences, only. Users can easily recognize if the voice recognition feature is activated because a microphone icon appears on the screen,” the spokeswoman explained.
So if you do not want Samsung to collect your data, you can simply turn the eavesdropping feature off by visiting the “settings” menu. However the company may still gather usage info and any other text-based inputs to “evaluate the performance of the feature and improve it,” as it notes further down in the policy.
As for the Internet-connected devices, it isn’t just Samsung’s SmartTV that will listen and capture our private conversations. Soon, we’ll be surrounded by more of the objects in our homes that will be far more advanced in snooping on us. The only way for us to avoid entering that dark era of mistrust is to set some boundaries on what is and is not acceptable.