In 1949, George Orwell published his controversial novel “1984” based in a dystopian era where everyone had two-way, tele-screens that government authorities used to watch or listen to people.
Now, Samsung is putting a similar technology in production with its Internet-connected Smart TV and it is raising the hackles of human rights activists over privacy concerns.
“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,” the policy reads.
Following the storm of criticism, Samsung published a detailed account of how its Smart TV’s voice-recognition technology worked and stated they did not “monitor living room conversation.”
However, its consumers remained unconvinced and upon investigation, it was revealed the data was not encrypted after all and the TV was recording audio in unencrypted form. Furthermore, the findings also revealed the transcribed copy of what has been said was also present in unencrypted form for any hacker to easily decode.
Samsung acknowledged the issue and has assured that it plans to fix it soon.
But customers have shown concern about the circumspect words of the policy. Samsung might have been vague in terms of hiding from competitors exactly how the new technology worked but it has also served to trigger mistrust among its consumers. The Orwellian wordings of the policy implied there was something suspicious about the new TV or it was trying very hard to hide something from its users.
It is obvious customers will be asking increasingly probing questions about exactly what is being done with the data. To keep Samsung on their side, the tech giant will not just need great service but also crystal-clear privacy policies and foolproof security.
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