Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Samsung Smart TVs Are a Little Creepy

Cory Doctorow, on BoingBoing:

Part of the Samsung Smarttv EULA: “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.”

I can’t decide whether I’m more comfortable with a singular company like, say, Google or Apple collecting a lot of information in one giant silo, or having a bunch of third parties collecting bits and pieces of my identity across multiple silos that aren’t necessarily connected. In any case, having a giant always-listening, always-transmitting gadget in your living room is rather invasive. At least “virtual assistants” — Siri, Google Now, and Amazon’s Echo — are only listening for a key phrase at any time.

Also, every time BoingBoing writes a post like this, it feels a bit rich to me because Ghostery reports seven separate trackers on their site, including Google Analytics and AdSense, Quantcast, and Scorecard Research.

Update: Samsung says that the language in the privacy policy isn’t perfectly clear, and the TV isn’t exactly always listening to everything you say. But, if that’s the case — and a third party, Nuance, is doing the processing — how is it listening for commands without listening for and transmitting everything? At least other virtual assistants are first-party.