Do you ever say anything in the privacy of your home that you wouldn’t want anyone else to hear? In that case do some research before you go buy a new Samsung TV. Security experts are warning buyers not to talk about private subjects in front of these television sets. The voice activation technology is incredible, but also comes with a great responsibility. Who says that it can’t be used to eavesdrop and data mine?

Reports say the television’s privacy policy has a clause that states what you say in front of your TV can be used by Samsung and its third party vendors. This is how it reads: “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.”

Samsung Voice Recognition TV
Samsung Voice Recognition TV

Originally we saw reports that said the voice recognition is turned off by default, which is how it should be. However, as early as this morning, Willie Geist and Tamron Hall reported on the TODAY Show that the voice recognition is turned ‘ON’ by default. Basically turning your TV into a powerful marketing tool for Samsung and whoever they choose to sell the information to.

To disable Voice Recognition data collection, go to the settings menu on your Samsung SmartTV.

I know this sounds like it’s straight out of George Orwell’s 1984, but it isn’t. Each new product that hits the market seems to have a downside of giving up part of your privacy. As the world continues to change, information seems to be the most valuable asset that companies can have. Businesses are still formed around products and services just like they always have been. The difference is that now small businesses have access to demographics like they never have before, and big business virtually knows what you want before you want it. We all make choices to give up certain parts of our personal information, but we do it knowing. This will undoubtedly take information from unsuspecting users.

Samsung does provide an option that disable’s voice recognition while still allowing you to use your voice to run the TV. Basically it has preprogrammed “voice commands”. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having a voice enabled television though? Even though it won’t be collecting voice data, it still collects the usage data, which of course will be data mined. The policy states: “If you do not enable Voice Recognition, you will not be able to use interactive voice recognition features, although you may be able to control your TV using certain predefined voice commands. While Samsung will not collect your spoken word, Samsung may still collect associated texts and other usage data so that we can evaluate the performance of the feature and improve it.”

Check out this tweet from Parker Higgins, who works as an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

  The technology business currently revolves around “connected devices”. This is nothing new, but everyone seems to be playing catch up to Microsofts Xbox, which redefined the tech game, pun intended. This is just the next move by Samsung. The public needs to do it’s best to stay informed, and aware of their personal information because these changes are here to stay. (That is until we are all officially in the Matrix 🙂