The Samsung SmartTV- If Consumers Want High-Tech, Product Transparency is Key

Is your television listening to you? Well, probably not unless it’s voice activated but, to be fair, that’s its job!

The Samsung SmartTV has come under public scrutiny following the realization that the voice-activated television may also transmit things you don’t want it to to a third party. As the device listens for directions, it may also pick up other things said by the user. As the company warns in it’s privacy policy section for the product,

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.”

Since the policy has circulated, Samsung has issued a statement clarifying how voice activation works saying the SmartTV is not “listening” unless the microphone button is on. The company assures it does not retain voice data or sell the audio captured. Samsung also maintains it takes consumer privacy seriously- the privacy policy was meant to be transparent with owners and allow consumers to make informed choices. The issued statement notes,

If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search. At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV.”

Similar concerns were raised when Apple’s Siri came onto the market place. While many consumers appreciate the ease and efficiency of new technology, many are also concerned by the sacrifices to personal privacy that such efficiency brings. Most important is for consumers to understand the potential risks associated with the adoption of such technologies.

 

Read more here- “Samsung Warns People About Discussing ‘Sensitive Information’ in Front of Their SmartTV,” (Joshua Barrie, Business Insider)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.

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