Samsung admits its smart TVs can listen to viewers' conversations and pass them on to third parties

Sarah Spickernell
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Smart TVs can listen through the voice activation feature (Source: Getty)
If you have a Samsung Smart TV in your home, it's time to put an end to any incriminating conversations you might be having.
It turns out the product's screen can listen to what you say and pass information on to third parties.
Part of the company's privacy policy for its Smart TVs, which was posted online earlier this week by the Daily Beast, warns viewers that sensitive conversations could be picked up and shared through the product's voice activation facility.
“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,” it says.
According to the BBC, the third party Samsung is referring to is voice recognition specialist Nuance, which can convert speech into text.
This information was not provided in the policy, however, which has led some people to complain. "If I were the customer, I might like to know who that third party was, and I'd definitely like to know whether my words were being transmitted in a secure form,” Corynne McSherry, an intellectual property lawyer, told the Daily Beast.
After the policy excerpt was highlighted by the media, Samsung released a statement saying that it wanted to give Smart TV owners guidance in deciding whether or not to use the voice activation feature. It said it took consumer privacy “very seriously”.
"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,” it said.
However, it emphasised that the audio captured is not retained by Samsung, and nor is it sold on to other companies or individuals.

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