Worried about smart TVs listening in? Welcome to the smart home

Big Brother has arrived. Your Smart TV can record your conversations and transmit the data to third parties.
It is troubling that the principles of privacy by design are not completely interwoven into the new technology. The absence of strong privacy default settings reveal some flaws in the development process and perhaps a lack of emphasis within the Company on privacy controls.


The last weekend saw a fair amount of freaking out over the privacy policy associated with Samsung’s smart TVs, which warns customers 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.”

Well, yeah: that’s how cloud-based speech recognition works. You say stuff and it goes off to a powerful computer somewhere for voice-to-text translation and interpretation. The issue here is of course the idea of Samsung’s TV listening in all the time – if chatter is being constantly monitored and parsed, that isn’t just reminiscent of 1984; it’s pretty much described in Orwell’s book.

I’ll come back to that issue in a moment — spoiler: I suspect the fears are overblown — but first it’s worth mentioning the wider picture. With quite superb timing, on Monday the…

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