If you have been considering investing in one of Samsung’s new SmartTVs, there’s something you may want to take into account before committing to a purchase. The voice recognition feature that allows you to control things, like power and volume with your voice, reaches far beyond the confines of your living room. These SmartTVs are always “listening” for your instructions, but third parties are also “listening” and potentially using what is overheard for purposes that have little to do with tuning into your favorite television program.
Samsung has recently revealed that the state-of-the-art voice-command system on its SmartTVs may record bits of conversation that have nothing to do with turning the channel or placing a program on pause. These little bits of speech may even be sold to a third party. According to Samsung, these recordings will be used to improve the voice-recognition software. The company notes, however, that the software will not distinguish between television voice controls and private conversations.
The company adds, “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.” The potential for misuse, however, remains and is something of which consumers should be aware. For those who want to minimize the risk associated with this voice-recognition software, data collection can be disabled in the settings, although this can limit the effectiveness of voice commands. Consumers should also recognize these risks are present with all voice-recognition software, including the iPhone’s Siri.