Samsung will steal your voice with new app

9 February 2015

samsung logo Voice-recognition has been a big deal in the techworld, as companies try to get us using words, rather than fingers, to make your gadgets perform tasks.

Amazon, Google and Apple have all employed voice activated assistants and, Samsung are in on the act too - but there's one big problem with theirs: they are going to eavesdrop on you and store what you're saying while you're sat in your house.

Cue Big Brother and Thought Police style thinkpieces from various columnists.

So what's the skinny? Well, Samsung have made some TVs which connect to the internet and they've got a supplementary privacy policy which covers them and, seeing as you can activate certain things with your voice, they've had to tell you what they'll be storing if you're going to utilise the functions.

In their policy, it says: "To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service that converts speech to text or to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you. In addition, 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."

It also says that: "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." See for yourself.

samsung personal privacy

So get that! Your TV will record your conversations and then send them to Samsung! Worries aside, you have to be impressed with how honest Samsung are being about it. They've not tried to bury it under jargon at all.

Further into the policy, Samsung also state that wholly opting out of being tracked isn't part of the deal, which is an absolute crock.

It says: "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."

"You may disable Voice Recognition data collection at any time by visiting the “settings” menu. However, this may prevent you from using all of the Voice Recognition features."

Samsung have made a statement about all this, saying: "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."

"Voice recognition, which allows the user to control the TV using voice commands, is a Samsung Smart TV feature, which can be activated or deactivated by the user. The TV owner can also disconnect the TV from the Wi-Fi 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."

"Samsung does not retain voice data or sell it to third parties. 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."

TOPICS:   Technology   Privacy   Mobile


  • Ryan w.
    Surely this is illegal. If it's not it should be. Will google be sticking listening bugs in my wall next because i use their search engine. On what planet should samsung have access to private conversations.
  • DragonChris
    Meh, I don't use voice recognition anyway so no biggie :)
  • Ol P.
    Legal issues aside, this is going to ramp up your data usage somewhat!
  • Matt G.
    @Ryan w: Google already records everything you search for. Not in a voice for but as text in a database somewhere... They have done for years!
  • Mike H.
    People use voice recognition?
  • JonB
    If you use Google Now, Siri, Amazon voice search or any other cloud-based voice recognition then this is how it works.
  • No c.
    Computer: Kill Flanders!!!
  • Martin
    If you want to use voice activated equipment then it has to be able to listen out and assess what is being said. Fairly obvious as JonB says.
  • Father J.
    The sad thing is that pretty soon this will be only sort of telly you can buy.

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