Beware your TV (hi, future!)

Samsung is warning customers about discussing personal information in front of their smart television set.

The warning applies to TV viewers who control their Samsung Smart TV using its voice activation feature.

When the feature is active, such TV sets “listen” to what is said and may share what they hear with Samsung or third parties, it said.

There is more here, via Ted Gioia.


I have one of those. I was wondering about that.

My smartphone says this is nothing to worry about.

Who in their right mnd would ever voluntarily put a mcrophone in their house that transmits everything they say to unknown third parties? This product deserves to fail.

It sounds like (from the article) the TV only records when button on remote is pressed (and icon shows on screen) and sends speech to Nuance which specializes in translation or the request.

Come on, that is child's play compared to what your smart phone does.

Smart phones and many laptops can be turned on remotely and the cameras used to record anything going on. That is ignoring the fact that they have a GPS chip.

We are happy to introduce them into our lives.

"We are happy to introduce them into our lives."

Speak for yourself.

"Speak for yourself." commented Igor as he stood in line in front of the Apple Store waiting for the next iPhone to be released.

Yes, exactly. You can still get flip phones, old ones are easy to repair, and I still use mine for this very reason along with several others.

Can't the NSA do that with iPhones? Do you have an iPhone?

It's pretty easy to identify a lot of people who would make a lot of money if that rumour were to get really big, but I feel sort of inclined to believe it.

Of course Apple and CIA/NSA would deny regardless of the truth.

"Why aren't young actors capable of clear elocution these days?" Do you think the message could be passed on to interested parties?

More like "(hi, past!)" -- this is pretty old news. I've had one of these TVs for more than two years -- I don't use the voice recognition feature. Here's a Salon piece from Oct. 30, 2014 on the security aspects of the feature:

In Patty Hearst's autobiography Every Secret Thing, she mentions the SLA would turn the TV set to the wall whenever they had discussions of their secret plots. They were ahead of their time.

And also kind of stupid. Since there's no way that a tube from a CRT TV can pick up video. However, the speaker can act as a microphone, but turning it towards the wall isn't going to stop that.

I guess the lesson is if you're bugging guys like the SLA, put a camera pointing out the back.

The problem with the old Soviet TV-videocams was they didn't always shield the wires so well, so the aging ones would leak the camera signal into the TV signal, and you'd see this interference in the TV image that reacted to motion in the room.

None of the SLA were electrical engineeers -- they didn't know a TV wasn't 2-way -- but one of them later became a computer consultant after she got out of prison.

I believe the two-way TV was a feature in Orwell's 1984. Perhaps they were just well read.

'Since there’s no way that a tube from a CRT TV can pick up video'

Actually, let me introduce you to the world of Tempest, with just the most general introduction - And further point out that a CRT camera and CRT TV are merely mirror images of the same process - analogous to the example of a microphone/speaker. The ray is tracing in both cases, which is possible to monitor with the correct equipment.

Ha, the Soviets were doing this decades ago with analog technology.

Not so ubiquitously though. Just some key places, mainly international hotels.

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