Have a Samsung SmartTV? It’s listening to your private conversations

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Be careful what you say in front of your Samsung TV. It’s listening to you.

Many Samsung “SmartTVs” come equipped with voice recognition, which allows you to bark commands at your TV. Since the television is always listening for your voice, Samsung has warned its SmartTV customers that every word is being captured and sent over the Internet.

“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 posted in its SmartTV privacy policy.

Okay, that’s pretty creepy.

Samsung says it needs to send your voice commands to a third-party, because that company converts your speech to text. But Samsung also collects your voice commands to perform research and determine whether it needs to make improvements to the feature.

Samsung noted that a microphone appears on the screen when the voice recognition feature is turned on, notifying customers that their voice is being captured. You can opt-out of the SmartTV voice recognition feature.

But even if you opt out, your voice commands will still be captured. The SmartTV has a set of pre-programmed commands that it recognizes even if you opt out of voice recognition. Samsung will collect the text of those pre-programmed voice commands (though not your voice itself) and analyze how much you’re using certain commands.

“Samsung does not retain voice data or sell it to third parties,” the company said in a statement. “If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature … the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV.”

Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the identity of the third party or whether that company records the voice data.

4 comments

  • smileysad

    Why do news people report in this manner??? I mean really….they are not spying on you and really have no need to…unless you are doing something illegal? Come on people! They reported in the same manner about Facebook messenger and I lost have of my contacts to fear. What are the reporters wanting us to be so scared of? And Seriously if someone wanted to spy on you they are not going to put it in you privacy policy!

    • lolsmack

      Because no hacker would ever want to break in to a server that collects personal voice data on thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people.

      I’m sure Sony, all the defense contractors, Target, the banks and everyone else thought their data was so secure and look where that got them. NOTHING that is sent over the internet is safe. It is a roll of the dice every single time you submit personal information to any server.

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