Samsung Says Its Smart TVs Won't Spy on Users

But be careful what you say, and when you say it.

Credit: / Michael Desjardin

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Here's your daily dose of Orwellian nightmare fuel: In a privacy clause that has shipped with Samsung smart TVs for the past several months, the company cautioned that sets with Voice Recognition (in other words, almost all of them) are passing along basically everything you say to any number of third-party eavesdroppers.

In a privacy policy clause that's since been removed, the company cautioned:

Please be aware that if your spoken words include sensitive or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.

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But don't worry, it's not actually as Big Brother as it initially sounds—according to Samsung, anyway.

In an amendment to the privacy policy, the company explained that its TVs are only listening and transmitting your voice (and turning it into text) when you use commands to search for certain things.

The company clarified, "During [voice command], the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV."

So if your friend uses voice commands to search for Chappie while you simultaneously scream out your social security number, then you might be in trouble. Otherwise (we assume), it's perfectly safe to discuss your personal info around your shiny new TV.

In the course of making its clarifications, Samsung also revealed the identity of the primary third-party recipient: Nuance Communications, a software company based in Burlington, Massachusetts.

So it's all good, right? There's no need to live in the assumption that every sound you make is overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

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