Samsung denies Smart TVs are ‘spying’ on viewers

The claims come in reaction to criticism from users over the device’s privacy policy

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Technology giant Samsung has dismissed allegations that its Smart TVs are spying on viewers, stressing that it takes “privacy very seriously”, the UK’s daily The Guardian reported Tuesday.

“Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously. In all of our Smart TVs any data gathering or their use is carried out with utmost transparency and we provide meaningful options for consumers to freely choose or to opt out of a service,” Samsung told The Guardian.

“We employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use,” the company said.

The claims come in reaction to criticism from users over the device’s privacy policy, which appears to suggest that they should not discuss any sensitive topics in front of their television.

The Smart TV privacy policy reads: “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.”

According to The Guardian, the third party supposedly refer to Massachusetts-based voice recognition company Nuance, which provides the technology to Samsung as a white-label service.

In the interview with the daily, Samsung also said that a consumer has the choice to activate or not the option to control the TV using their voices.

“Should consumers enable the voice recognition capability, the voice data consists of TV commands or search sentences, only. Users can easily recognize if the voice recognition feature is activated because a microphone icon appears on the screen.”

“Samsung does not retain voice data or sell it to third parties. 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,” the company added.

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